It started to go wrong the way these things usually did for them — the second they split up. (You’d think by now they would have learned.)
Tony’s timing (hah, how fitting that time was working against them) had been off by seconds. He was just about to cut into the appropriate container, grab the Tesseract and get the hell out of dodge when he’d been interrupted. It probably could have been worse. At least he hadn’t been cut red -- or blue -- handed. But he was caught so off guard by being met with fucking Howard of all people that he hadn’t been able to find an excuse to stay, walking his father out and making bullshit conversation and feeling his heart sink deeper with every step further he took from the Tesseract.
Steve hadn’t fared much better. He had, initially, gotten his hands on the Pym particles. But, distracted by a glimpse of Peggy, of seeing first hand the life she’d lived without him, he had hesitated a moment too long before leaving. He thought he’d made it out. He was outside and had signalled to Tony -- who was talking to his father , no way that was a good idea -- and was just waiting for him to join him when he heard shouts. Steve had to make a quick get away after that, leaving Tony to extricate himself as quickly and unsuspiciously as possible, and hope they’d manage to find each other again. Steve got away, but somehow the Pym Particles were lost in the process. Because that just seemed to be how their day was going.
Tony found Steve a couple hours later, sitting forlornly on a bench in some little park. He’d abandoned most of his borrowed uniform in an attempt at disguise, leaving him in a white t-shirt and a pair of alarmingly high-waisted bell bottom pants that he’d gotten from god knew where. There were a few birds scattered by his feet and Tony resisted the urge to make a crack about old men feeding pigeons in the park as he flopped down onto the bench beside him.
“Cheer up, Cap,” he told him, giving him a conciliatory pat on the shoulder. “It’s not so bad.”
Steve lifted his head to glare at him, but it was half-hearted at best. “Not so bad?” he repeated. “Tony, I lost the Pym Particles.”
“And I didn’t get the Tesseract.”
“Oh, great, things are going to be just fine then.”
“Wow. Sarcasm is not a good look on you, Rogers.”
“I’m not in the mood, Tony. We’re trapped here, and apparently we don’t even have the thing we came for. It’s over, we lost.”
“Well... Not exactly.” At Steve’ confused stare, Tony gave a half shrug. “The good news is, we technically have all the time in the world. Once we get the particles, we can go right back to where we were when we left.”
“We still have to get the particles,” Steve pointed out, but there was something almost resembling hope on his face. “And the Tesseract. And they’ll have stepped up security, if they think there was a breach.”
“Yup,” Tony admitted. “And since bouncing in as Captain America Iron Man could probably result in some catastrophically timeline-altering bullshit, we’re probably going to have to play the long game.”
“What do we do in the meantime?” Steve asked. “It’s 1970, and we didn’t exactly come prepared. You technically haven’t even been born yet; I don’t think your driver’s license is going to fly. We’ve got no IDs, no money, and no place to stay -- SHIELD's list of safehouses isn’t going to cut it right now. How are we playing the long game?”
Tony gave him a crooked grin. “I’m gonna tell you something, and I really need you to not judge me over this, Cap.”
“Oh, this should be good.”
“So back when I was thirteen and in my last years of high school, I was young, and bored, and…”
“A pain in the ass?” Steve supplied.
“Precocious.” Tony gave him a dirty look. “Point being, I may have run some scams, started selling fake IDs… Pre technology era, it was surprisingly easy, actually. Which probably doesn’t say much for the security of our country, but works out well for our purposes.”
Steve pinched the bridge of his nose. “You want to run scams selling IDs?”
“Well, the IDs would be for us, but basically… Yeah, at least until we get ourselves situated. Unless you got a better idea? I mean, stripping usually pays under the table. Not sure how prominent male strippers were in 1970, but I’m sure you could fetch a pretty penny with that ass.”
Steve gave a long, pained sigh. “Nope. ID scams it is.”
THREE MONTHS LATER
Steve padded down the hall and into the avocado green kitchen that never failed to make his soul cry a little. Tony was already there, sitting at the kitchen table with a legal pad and a mechanical pencil, muttering to himself as he sketched out equations that Steve couldn’t even begin to process. Steve arched an eyebrow at him, beelining for the coffee pot; Tony’s bad habits were starting to rub off on him.
“You get any sleep last night?”
Tony waved his free hand in a so-so gesture before scribbling a few more numbers and looking up to give Steve a slightly crooked grin. “Couple hours.” He made a show of looking Steve up and down, and even though he should have been used to it by now, Steve felt a shiver run up his spine. “Cute shorts, Cap.”
Steve rolled his eyes, shifting to tug at the super short hemline for the umpteenth time. “It’s July, Tony. It’s 90 degrees out there. And apparently this is what the 1970s have to offer for running shorts.”
Tony leaned back in the chair, balancing it on the back two legs. “Hey, I’m not complaining.” He gave him a wink. “Seriously, Steve. You look good.”
Instead of answering, Steve turned to the refrigerator, pulling out a carton of eggs. Since they’d been stuck here, there had been a million little things that Steve had barely even noticed in the future that he missed terribly now, and currently his Super Special Super Soldier Protein Bars (Tony’d had them patented in 2013) were topping the list. He was sure someone, somewhere would have Thoughts on his shifting priorities and how they reflected the Decline Of America, but energy bars were infinitely preferable to having to mix raw eggs into his orange juice, and there was no way around it. He had to pinch his nose as he knocked the drink back, trying to swallow as quickly as he could, but it didn’t do anything to mask the texture.
The sentiment was apparently shared by Tony, who made a face as he watched Steve3. “I could probably reverse engineer some kind of protein bar that meets your super soldier needs,” he offered.
Steve gave him a fond smile. “I’ve had worse,” he told him, which was true, but not by much. “And I don’t think I’d trust your cooking. Anyway, I think I’d rather you reverse engineer a way for us to get the Tesseract.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Tony frowned back down at his legal pad and aggressively scratched out a few numbers. “I’m working on it.”
Steve arched his eyebrows at him. “And I’m going for a run.”
Tony waved him off, but as Steve headed back into the hall, he heard him call, “Bye, Cap! Hate to see you go, but love to watch you leave!”
As he started his regular run through the winding streets of small town Jersey (ew), Steve’s mind started to wander the way it always did when he worked out -- even if he had to hold himself back to keep from attracting unwanted attention. And, the way it seemed to be doing more and more lately, as his worries took a backseat, his mind drifted to Tony instead.
Steve couldn’t say exactly when things had changed between them. It had been the same as usual, at first, the two of them poking and prodding at each other. Steve respected Tony, always had after New York, and he was pretty sure Tony felt the same way about him. But they also knew how to push each other’s buttons, and didn’t seem to be able to stop doing it.
As the spring had dragged on, and their plans to get back into Fort LeHigh went exactly nowhere, and frustrations grew, Steve had expected things to get even worse between them. But instead the exact opposite had happened. Maybe it was the fact that he had a kid now, maybe it was the fact that it felt like the whole world was against them right now, nothing going right, and they were the only ones who had each other’s back. But Tony was different now, and Steve had a feeling that he probably was too.
They had talked about it, once, after yet another tossed out plan. Tony had admitted how much this was weighing on him, how scared he was that this would fail, how many people were counting on them -- Morgan most of all. And then, in a voice that broke Steve’s heart, Tony had admitted that making the effort to get along with Steve made him feel a little bit better about failing to get them out of there. Steve had tried to reassure him that it wasn’t his fault, that coming to 1970 may have been Tony’s idea, but that he’d also been right about it being their only chance. But he knew Tony enough to know that that guilt wasn’t going to stop no matter what Steve said. So he made the effort to be kinder to Tony in turn. And somewhere along the way, it stopped being an effort and just became their relationship. They still teased and prodded at each other, but instead of antagonism, it was all fondness, Tony looking delighted every time he’d get a smile out of Steve. They argued too, sometimes, because they were still them, but the arguments were fewer and farther between, and more often than not they’d just fizzle out entirely until they could come back to it later and have an actual conversation instead.
The team was his family, he loved and trusted them with every ounce of his body. But the little house he shared with Tony was starting to feel like home in a way that he hadn’t found since 1942. Steve knew he shouldn’t be getting too comfortable, that he was probably getting too complacent about their lack of progress. But it was easy to take heart in the fact that they’d be able to return to the same point in time. And he was enjoying the familiarity of their little life here. Tony had gotten a job at a local garage, kept making jokes Steve didn’t quite understand about how he was an actual mechanic now, and Steve had managed to pick up some freelance work drawing cartoons for the local paper. On the mornings when Tony hadn’t stayed up all night, Steve would start the coffee pot, making sure there was a fresh mug waiting for him when he dragged himself out of bed for his shift. And in turn, Tony would prepare dinner, because apparently cooking was a thing he’d learned in the past five years, more often than not making Steve’s favourites. They just knew each other now, things easy and familiar. Steve had expected to be bored, to be slowly going crazy with all the sitting around and waiting. But instead it was almost pleasant, like he’d been able to press the pause button on his life for one damn second.
Apparently Steve Rogers was the domestic type, who knew?
And then, of course, there were the other ways that Steve was starting to know Tony. Over the past few weeks, Tony’s teasing ogling had turned a little less… Teasing. Several times now, Steve had caught Tony staring at him when he thought Steve wasn’t looking, his gaze soft and heated and wanting in a way that made Steve squirm. And his comments on Steve’s body had an edge to them, a bit of truth to the words that hadn’t been there before.
And, well, the house wasn’t big. Steve wasn’t going to pretend that he hadn’t heard Tony jerk off on multiple occasions, that he hadn’t strained his ears to listen for the whisper of his name on Tony’s lips, that he hadn’t then jerked himself off with a little more noise than he would normally, picturing Tony do the same. Maybe it was just the fact that it was only the two of them here together, but Steve couldn’t escape feeling that there was something building between them.
The day had ended up being scorchingly hot, and Tony had picked up an extra shift at the garage, so Steve had cooked dinner. He’d never really bothered to learn to cook properly -- Tony liked to joke that his taste buds had been so ruined by Depression era food that not even the serum could save them -- but he could manage a few staples. He’d burned the first attempt at cheeseburgers, but the second set were better, and all the chaos was worth it when Tony shuffled into the kitchen, looking exhausted, only to inhale deeply and then positively beam.
“Steve,” he declared, still in his mechanic’s coveralls as he slumped into one of the kitchen chairs with a cold beer in his hand. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I think I love you.”
It was fully dark by the time they finished their meal. The windows and the kitchen door were wide open in the hopes of catching a breeze, and the sounds of the crickets outside filtered through the house. The heat hadn’t dissipated at all with the disappearance of the sun, giving everything a hazy, dreamy feel. Tony had unzipped the top half of his coveralls, leaving them hanging around his waist with only a threadbare white muscle shirt covering his chest. Steve kept having to look away but couldn’t seem to keep his eyes from drifting right back. Those coveralls were his number one weakness right now; he’d had multiple filthy fantasies about peeling Tony out of them.
“Fuck, it’s hot,” Tony muttered, knocking back the last of his beer. His legs were spread on the chair, posture loose and easy, and Steve watched his throat bob as he swallowed.
“You could go and change,” Steve pointed out, even as his dick screamed at him to shut up, that was the last thing he wanted.
Tony sighed. “Yeah, but then I’d have to move,” he complained, offering Steve a grin. “Anyway, it’s my turn to do the dishes,” he added, not seeming to care that he’d just negated his last point entirely.
“No, hey. You've had a long day,” Steve said. “I’ll do them.”
Tony hummed, considering. “You wash and I’ll dry?”
Washing the dishes with Tony was one of his favourite chores, and tonight was no exception. They alternated between companionable silence as they worked, broken only by the gentle splash of water as Steve rinsed another dish, and easy chatter, nohing of importance, just dumb jokes and mindless anecdotes.
“So then,” Tony concluded, giving a glass a half-assed swipe with his dishcloth and putting it away mostly wet. Steve thought about calling him on it, but didn’t. “It turned out that he’d somehow wired the radio to the headlights? And every time they came on, the radio would turn off. That’s why it wouldn’t work at night.”
It wasn’t even that funny of a story, but Tony’s laughter was contagious. Steve turned to smile at him, and something in his chest caught. Tony was grinning, face lit up with humor and a hint of anticipation as he stared back at Steve. He had a lock of hair falling over his forehead, curling in the hot summer air, and he was still wearing those damn coveralls, biceps on display. Hardly aware of what he was doing, Steve let the dishcloth slip into the sink and curled a soapy wet hand around the back of Tony’s neck. He had a brief moment to notice Tony’s tiny shiver at the water on his skin, and then Steve leaned in and kissed him. Tony’s lips were warm and soft and slightly parted, practically inviting Steve to deepen the kiss, to suck gently on his upper lip. Tony made a soft noise in response, barely more than a huff of air, and all of a sudden Steve realized what he was doing.
With a start he pulled back, almost immediately missing the touch of Tony’s skin beneath his fingers. “Oh god, I’m sorry,” he burst out, staring at the floor and pressing his fingers gingerly to his own lips, like he could hide what he’d done. “I don’t know what that was. It’s just the heat, and, and… You…”
Stomach twisting with nerves, Steve chanced a glance up at Tony, expecting him to be upset, or angry, or even hurt for some reason. But instead Tony was just staring back at him with a soft, pleased smile on his lips. “It’s okay, Steve.”
And sure, he probably just meant that he was forgiving Steve’s lapse of judgement, Steve knew that. But he could also be giving Steve permission, and so he leaned in, kissing him again. And when Tony didn’t shove him away, only sighed against his mouth and pressed his palms against Steve’s abs through his tight, white-t-shirt, Steve deepened it once more, pressing his tongue past Tony’s lips to taste him. His hands shifted to grip at Tony’s hips, thumbs sliding over the bare skin where his shirt didn’t quite touch his coveralls, and he was only half-aware of turning them until he had Tony pressed back against the counter, Steve looming over him and holding him in place.
They were both breathing hard by the time he pulled back again, and Steve couldn’t stop staring at Tony. His hair was more mussed now, though neither of them had touched it, little strands curling around his neck and ears. His lips were red and swollen, eyes dark and heavy, and he was still giving Steve that soft smile. He tilted his head a little, squinting like he was trying to read him, and then he grinned.
“Close the door, Steve.”
Steve blinked at him, wondering if he was somehow so horny for it that a little kissing had completely fried his brain. “What?”
Tony laughed softly, the sound sending something warm and pleasant furling through Steve’s stomach -- though that may have been helped by the way that Tony slid his hands up Steve’s chest, dragging over his tight nipples in the process, and fiddled with the collar of his shirt.
“Shut the kitchen door, Steve. So we can go to bed.”
Steve nodded, a little dazed, and reluctantly let go of Tony’s hips. He didn’t know if Tony meant to go to bed because if they’d reached this point it was time to call it a night, or to go to bed , but he moved over to the kitchen door. He could feel Tony watching him with every step, his gaze heavy on his back and setting Steve’s nerves into hyperdrive. He shut the door firmly, the click of the lock seeming thunderous in the weighted silence of the room. Swallowing thickly he turned back to Tony.
“So, uh…” His voice sounded strange to his own ears and he trailed off, not sure what he even wanted to ask. Tony seemed to know though, giving Steve an amused smile. He held out his hand toward him.
“Come on, handsome.”
Steve moved back across the room, and curled his fingers around Tony’s. There were calluses on Tony’s hand, dragging against his own smooth skin, and Steve shivered at the sensation. There was a soft huff of laughter from Tony and then he was tugging gently on Steve’s arm, leading him down the hall toward their bedrooms. It felt hopelessly domestic, and something that had nothing to do with sex tugged at his heart. They didn’t speak, not even when they reached Tony’s bedroom door. Tony didn’t hesitate, his hand still clasped around Steve’s as he pulled him inside, and Steve was helpless to do anything but keep following.
Tony led him over to the side of the bed, angling himself to face Steve as he sat down beside him. Steve’s breath caught as Tony locked eyes with him, running his hand lightly over his chest before he curled his hand in the cotton of his t-shirt, tugging at him gently until they were kissing again. Steve let himself melt into it, hyper-aware of every point of contact between them as heat flooded through his body. Steve let his hand slide over Tony’s ribs and the two of them tipped back against the mattress until they were lying side by side, sharing kisses so sweet they almost ached. One of Tony’s hands came up, running through Steve’s hair, and he shuddered against him, pulling back to look at Tony with heavy eyes.
“Tony, what…” Steve tightened his hand against Tony’s waist, not wanting him to pull away. “What are we doing?”
Tony huffed out another soft laugh, shifting closer until his chest was pressed to Steve’s. “I think that’s kind of obvious, Cap,” he told him, voice low and rough.
Steve whined softly, his hand clenching against Tony’s side before he forced himself to loosen his grip. “What… What about Pepper?” he asked, because he couldn’t not.
But Tony just smiled, unperturbed. “Don’t worry about it. We have an understanding,” he told him vaguely before pressing in closer. Steve could feel their lips brush against each other, unbearably intimate. “Just relax, Steve,” Tony hummed. “I want this. I think you want this too, right?”
Steve nodded. “Yeah,” he said, voice rasping over the word. Tony beamed.
“Then don’t worry about anything else.”
Tony kissed him again, soft and slow, and Steve let himself sink into it, everything that wasn’t Tony’s lips on his fading from his mind. Tony shifted against him, pushing himself up on one elbow so he could press Steve onto his back, leaning over him. He moved his hand up under Steve’s t-shirt, and Steve gasped a little, abs flexing at the touch of his cool fingers. Tony grinned against his mouth, tugging at his lower lip.
“There we go,” he hummed. “God Steve, you have any idea how long I’ve wanted to touch you like this?” He pushed at the fabric, movements getting a little sloppy. “Come on, gorgeous. Let me see you.”
Steve felt hot all over, could feel his cheeks flushing red. He pushed himself up far enough to haul his t-shirt off over his head.
“Oh yeah,” Tony breathed. “There we go.”
Steve rolled his eyes, not bothering to hide his fond smile. “You know, you have seen me shirtless before,” he pointed out. “This morning, even.”
“Yeah,” Tony agreed, but he sounded distracted, eyes locked somewhere around Steve’s nipples. “But it’s different now.”
Steve arched an eyebrow, peering down his chest skeptically. “I didn’t run that hard,” he told him, voice teasing.
Tony shook his head. “ You’re not different. It’s just… Knowing I actually get to touch you, get to have you?” He visibly shuddered at the thought, and the idea of Tony wanting him that much sent something hot and squirmy rolling through Steve’s body.
“Tony, fuck,” he muttered, hips rolling up as he yanked Tony back down on top of him. Tony made a startled noise that shifted to groan as he ended up with Steve’s cock pressing into his hip.
“God,” he breathed, breath hot on Steve’s skin. He dragged his teeth over the tendon in his neck. “The things I wanna do to you.”
“Please,” Steve moaned, sliding his hand down Tony’s back to squeeze at his ass through the coveralls. “Whatever you want, anything.”
Tony grinned into his neck. “Whatever I want, huh? Never thought I’d hear those words coming from you, Cap.”
Steve opened his mouth to offer some kind of retort, but bit out a string of curses instead as Tony’s thumb found his left nipple, rubbing over the pert flesh. Tony was barely touching him, just flicks of his fingers and teasing little brushes of skin on skin, but every point of contact was setting Steve on fire, feeling like it was on the cusp of too much. He let his eyes fall shut, hands clenching periodically over Tony’s ass and side as his cock throbbed in his shorts.
“Tony, god, please. I want…”
“What?” Tony asked, and his voice was thick and rough. Steve opened his eyes again to see Tony staring down at him hungrily, biting down hard on his lower lip. “What do you want Steve?”
“Please,” he whined, dragging his hand back up to Tony’s hips to hold him in place while he rocked his hips up against him. “Wanna… Touch. Please.”
He could feel the hot air of Tony’s breath as he laughed against his neck, and then he slid lower down Steve’s waist, sucking the nipple he’d already been teasing into his mouth. Steve didn’t even try to hold back his shout as Tony bit down on the tender skin. His body arched up into the touch, nearly unseating Tony entirely.
“Christ,” Tony muttered. “You’re so fucking sensitive.”
Steve whined as Tony’s warm heat left his body, but when he opened his eyes in protest, Tony was grinning at him as he stripped off his tank top. Steve let his eyes drag hungrily down Tony’s chest, noted the way he flushed a little in response, and then scrambled to arch his hips and kick his shorts off down his hips. Tony was doing the same with his coveralls, and distantly Steve felt a little disappointed that he hadn’t had the chance to peel him out of them himself. But then his cock was springing free, resting hot and hard against his belly, and Steve couldn’t stop himself from curling his hand around it, groaning in relief.
It took him a minute to realize that Tony had stopped undressing, staring at Steve’s cock with heavy eyes and his lips parted. “Holy shit, Steve,” he ground out. Then he was kicking off the last of his clothes and moving to lean over Steve again, covering his hand with his. Steve gasped at the sensation -- he couldn’t remember the last time he’d had someone else touching him, and this was Tony -- and his cock grew heavier in their shared grip. “Fuck, Steve.” Tony bit down on his earlobe, hard, tightening his grip around him. “You gotta let me taste you, honey, please.”
There was suddenly nothing that Steve wanted more and he whined a little desperately, catching Tony’s lips in a desperate, sloppy kiss before Tony moved down his body, kissing sporadically over Steve’s chest as he went.
From the first flick of Tony’s tongue against the head of his cock, Steve was lost. He rolled his head back, knowing if he tried to look at Tony now he’d last all of five seconds. He panted up at the ceiling instead, body thrumming and over sensitive. The hot summer air was giving everything a dreamy, dazed feel, not quite real, and he gave himself over to the sensation, losing sight of time and what was happening, but hyperconscious of how good he felt, the way his skin lit up everywhere that Tony touched him. His mouth was hot and wet, swallowing around Steve over and over again, until he couldn’t focus on anything else.
Steve had no idea how much longer it had been when he felt his balls draw up tight, his orgasm suddenly right there. He gave a ragged moan, patting clumsily at Tony’s shoulder.
“Tony,” he mumbled, and he hadn’t thought he’d been screaming, but his voice sure sounded like it. “Gonna…”
But Tony didn’t pull off, just swallowed him deeper. Wondering if maybe he hadn’t understood, Steve dragged his eyes open only to look down and find Tony staring back at him intensely. There was a look in his eyes like making Steve feel good was the greatest thing he had ever accomplished, and Steve couldn’t hold on any longer. Clenching his fingers in the sheets hard enough to ache, Steve spilled down Tony’s throat, cursing when that only made Tony swallow harder around him.
When he’d finished, Steve collapsed flat on his back on the mattress, body limp and ears ringing. For a long moment he was only aware of his own breathing, his heart racing in his ears. And then he felt Tony shifting against him, opened his eyes to see Tony on his knees beside him, jerking off frantically. He was running his mouth again, but Steve couldn’t seem to focus on what he was saying, only catching bits here and there as Tony rambled about how gorgeous he was, how hot that had been, how he couldn’t wait to do it again, and again, and again. Steve couldn’t seem to tear his gaze away from the sight of Tony’s cock moving through his fist. He was thicker than Steve had expected, the tip wet as it poked between his fingers over and over again. He wanted to touch him, taste him, but he could seem to find the energy to do much more than reach up, mirroring Tony’s earlier movements and curling his hand over Tony’s, feeling the rhythm of him jerking himself off.
Tony’s eyes snapped to his, his face looking almost comically startled, and then he was making a strangled noise before he came across Steve’s chest. It seemed to go on forever and then he was collapsing onto his side, not quite touching Steve but close enough that he could feel the heat from his skin anyway. It was like second nature for Steve to shift his arm, stroking his fingers feather light up and down Tony’s back.
He drifted for awhile, everything still having that hazy, unreal feel. At some point he’d been aware of the mattress shifting, Tony getting up only to return a few moments later, giving them both a cursory wipe down with a damp cloth. Distantly Steve had thought that maybe he should get up, return to his own room, that maybe Tony wouldn’t want him actually sleeping beside him. But before he could make a move, Tony had tossed the cloth in the direction of the bathroom and flopped down beside him again, this time slinging an arm across Steve’s waist. His skin was hot and sticky, but Steve couldn’t bear the thought of getting him to move.
He must have slept, because suddenly he was awake again, aware of the crickets chirping outside the open bedroom window and Tony breathing into his neck. His breathing was steady and even, but somehow Steve knew he was awake anyway. He wondered what he was thinking of, if he was just riding the high of an amazing orgasm, or if he was thinking of home, of his family. That made Steve think of Pepper again, wondering what exactly ‘an understanding’ meant, and he felt guilt twist low in his stomach.
“Hmm?” Tony’s voice was soft but alert, and Steve drew in a deep breath.
“What’s your ‘understanding’ with Pepper? Did you, I mean… You didn’t just say that so we’d keep going, did you?”
Tony made a disgruntled noise and pushed himself up with the arm not draped over Steve. He stared down at him, eyes slightly narrowed, although he didn’t actually look offended. “What, you think I was so thirsty for it that I lied so you wouldn’t stop me from cheating on my wife?”
Steve winced; put like that, it sounded really bad. “Well, no. And I don’t know if you noticed, but I wasn’t exactly putting much effort into stopping you, I just…” He trailed off, giving him an awkward, helpless shrug. Tony blinked at him a moment longer and then flopped back down on the mattress, fingers drawing idle patterns over Steve’s abs. The silence dragged out between them and Steve was just about to do something to break it when Tony spoke, the words mumbled against Steve’s shoulder.
“Pepper and I aren’t actually together anymore.”
Steve blinked. “Oh,” he said, a little dazed. He didn’t know what he had been thinking, but that was the last thing he had expected. “Oh shit, Tony. I’m sorry.” He felt his heart sink. “Was it… Was it because you came back? To help us with the whole time travel thing, I mean?”
“What? No! God no, nothing like that! Pepper was actually the one pushing me to do it. No, we, uh... actually... haven’t been like that for awhile.”
He sighed, flopping onto his back and slinging an arm across his eyes. Steve immediately missed the weight of his arm across his middle, but he curled his hand around the back of Tony’s neck instead and waited patiently for him to figure out what he wanted to say.
“I don’t know,” he said finally. “After I came back from… From space, things were different. It wasn’t anything she did. It probably wasn’t even anything I did, it was just… Different. Whatever we had wasn’t there anymore. She knew it too. But then she told me she was pregnant, had been before that squid-faced fuck arrived even. And I…” Tony pulled his hand away and rolled his head so he could look over at Steve. “I don’t know, Steve. For the first time since we lost, I remembered what hope felt like again.” He smiled, completely different from how he had smiled at Steve earlier, but just as warm. “She wasn’t even born yet, but Morgan was already saving my life. I wanted that baby more than I’d ever wanted anything in my entire life.” He snorted, his smile going uneven. “Even my dad’s approval,” he added, and Steve winced but Tony’s eyes were dancing. “So Pep and I talked and talked and talked and talked, and eventually we decided… Fuck it. We may not have been in love anymore, but we still love each other. We’re always gonna love each. And with all the shit we’ve been through together, we figured we could totally platonically coparent a baby.” He shrugged. “It’s been working out pretty fantastic, actually, but uh… Yeah. We haven’t been together in like five years so… You’re off the hook.”
“Oh.” Steve nodded. “That’s good.” He knew he should have felt better knowing this and he did. But he also felt weirdly bad about it. He thought every day about what had happened when Thanos’s minions had arrived in New York, replaying it all over and over. This felt like just one more thing that he could have stopped, like maybe if he’d just been there they could have ended it before Tony ever went into space, and maybe Tony and Pepper would still be together.
He didn’t say any of this out loud, of course, but Tony seemed to know something was up anyway. His eyes narrowed a bit before he rolled back onto his side, hand resting comfortably on Steve’s stomach like it belonged there. “Hey. Whatever you’re thinking? Stop. This really is for the best, I’m not lying. We still love each other, and it’s working really well this way. Honestly, I’m not sure what would have happened if we tried to do this as a marriage, but I don’t think it would have ended well. And anyway, the past is the past Steve. There’s no point in worrying about it because we can’t go back and change it.”
Steve gave him a look. “We’re living in 1970, Tony.”
“Okay, but we’re not changing the past, we’re just… Borrowing from it. Well, if you ignore the idea that we’re making minute changes in time just by our ongoing existence here, and that the longer we stay the further those ripples will travel. But we’re not actively trying to change the past, and anyway, all of that should be negated when we eventually return the stones to their original point, so…” He waved his hand, giving Steve a sheepish smile. “Point being, I think we both did things we regret. Going over and over them isn’t going to help anything. Just gotta… Stop thinking about it and move on.”
Steve was quiet for a long moment, combing his fingers absently through Tony’s hair; it was oddly soothing. “I don’t think I can,” he admitted quietly. He gave a short laugh. “Tactical mind. I keep running through scenarios in my head. All the things I could have done differently, all the ways it could have played out instead… I can’t stop it.”
Tony lifted his head to stare at him, eyes wide and horrified. “ Still ?” he demanded. “You’ve been carrying that around for the last five years? Jesus, Steve.” He shook his head, blowing out a long breath. “Okay, well. I know I can’t make that stop for you, but I can promise you that even if we can’t change the past, we are going to make up for it. We’re going to fix this, Steve. You and me, together.”
Steve nodded, curling his arm tighter around Tony’s back as something in him eased a little. “Together,” he repeated quietly.
Steve woke up the next morning alone in Tony’s bed. The air filtering through the window was already hot and humid, promising another sticky day. For a brief moment he was a little disappointed that he hadn’t woken up with Tony beside him, but he could smell bacon and coffee drifting down the hall from the kitchen, so he slid out of bed, hauling on the boxers that he’d left on the floor and padded down the hall to the kitchen.
Like most mornings, Tony was working at the kitchen table, but he looked up as Steve came in and his expression went a little dazed as he took in Steve’s barely dressed state. “Uhh.” Tony made a punched out noise before he seemed to get himself under control, offering Steve a broad grin.
“Morning, Cap,” he said, voice sounding a little raspy like… Well, like he’d been sucking cock. Between that and his obvious appreciation of his body, Steve felt his dick twitch in his shorts. He shifted a little, giving Tony a bright smile in return.
“Hi Tony,” he said, moving over to the coffee pot. He could feel Tony’s eyes on him as he poured the mug and when he turned back around it took a minute for Tony’s eyes to drag back up from he’d been staring at his ass. Steve couldn’t help his pleased little grin as he sat across from Tony at the table. “Any progress?” he asked, nodding at the legal pad covered in Tony’s weird shorthand.
Tony shrugged, but he didn’t even glance at the paper, eyes trained on Steve. “Same as usual,” he told him, taking another swallow of coffee. “Surprisingly hard to hack a security system that hasn’t been automated yet. And they’ve really stepped up their shit.” He eyed Steve, tilting his head a little. “You going for your run this morning?”
Steve shrugged, glancing down at his mostly naked state and grinning ruefully. “I mean, I might put on a few more clothes first, but yeah, probably…” He eyed Tony, who was ogling him again. “Why?” he asked, voice a little lower.
Tony slunk a little lower in his seat, eyes going dark as they locked with Steve’s. “I don’t have to go to the garage until a little later this morning, since I worked late yesterday and everything.” He grinned then, eyebrows waggling. “Wanna do a different kind of cardio this morning?”
They didn’t actually make it to the bedroom this time, only getting as far as the kitschy sunken living room before Tony got his hand in Steve’s boxers and the two of them collapsed to the ground in an uncoordinated heap. Tony jerked him off right there, whispering filthy things into his ear until he came. Steve had barely caught his breath before he was shoving Tony onto his back so he could return the favor.
Afterward, they both lay splayed out on their backs, panting up at the ceiling. Steve hummed, vaguely aware of Tony squirming around beside him. “I never noticed that crack on the ceiling,” he said. “Should have asked for a discount from the realtor.” Tony giggled, right in his ear, and Steve realized that all the squirming had been so he could move closer to Steve, pressing up against his side despite the heat and slinging a leg over his hip.
“I’ll keep that in mind the next time we get trapped forty years in the past and have to buy a house together,” Tony promised, giving a contented little sigh against Steve’s neck. It was strangely comforting having him close like that, leaving Steve feeling settled. He curled his arm around Tony, rubbing over the bare skin at his hip.
“It this… A thing now?” he asked.
There was a long moment of quiet from Tony before he answered, like he was choosing his words carefully. “It’s… Whatever you need it to be, Steve,” he settled on at last. Steve wasn’t entirely sure where that left them, but for now he would take it.
Tony whistled to himself as he rooted around in the engine of the Dodge Challenger, in a ridiculously pleasant mood. He was genuinely enjoying working as a mechanic; it was good hands-on work, helping to keep his brain calm, but there was a simplicity to the older engines that he had always preferred. There was a reason he’d kept so many classics in his own garage. It was more than that too though. Since he and Steve had started sleeping together, things felt brighter somehow. The urgency that had been plaguing him since they had fucked up their first time heist, the sense of panic that he had been trying to hide, it had all faded. He was still worried, of course, still working on a new plan, but it didn’t feel so hopeless now. Between the two of them, he knew they’d get it done.
Tony had moved to grab a wrench from the workbench when Joe wandered out of the office, leaning against the doorway. “Barbecue and beers at my place Saturday night. All the fellas are coming. You in?”
“Oh.” Tony couldn’t help his grin. He still wasn’t entirely used to his coworkers seeming to just like him, not wanting anything from him because, as far as they knew, he didn’t have anything to offer. “Yeah, sounds great!”
He turned back to the car, but Joe didn’t move away. Tony could feel his eyes on him, and he turned back, eyebrows arched expectantly.
“You know…” Joe hesitated another moment. “My brother never married. His roommate comes with him to family dinners and for Christmas. Charlie’s a great guy, and he and my brother have a really nice life. No one here would give you grief if your… roommate came along for a drink, is all I’m saying.”
Tony blinked, not quite sure what to do with that. “Oh. Uh, thanks. I will… Let Steve know.”
Joe gave him a warm smile then, followed by a quick pat on the back before he headed back into the office without another word. Tony turned back to the car, utterly nonplussed.
“Steve’s not my boyfriend,” he grumbled at the engine, but even as he said the words, his stomach twisted a little and a voice in his head that sounded suspiciously like Pepper yelled, ‘liar!’ He blinked down at the mechanics beneath him, thought of how they ate dinner together every night, how long they could spend talking and laughing together, the animosity left over from the last few years faded entirely. How the sex they had could just as often be considered, well, love making, as much as he hated that particular phrase. Tony felt something catch in his chest. “Oh shit, is Steve my boyfriend?”
When he laid it all out like that, like an equation to be solved, it definitely sounded like a relationship. But even bigger, when he focused on Steve’s face, really pictured his smile and his laugh, he felt something in his belly go warm and soft. He didn’t know how he had missed it before, but it was the same feeling he used to have when he thought of Pepper, and Rhodey before that. Tony groaned, sinking forward against the edge of the car.
“Oh god,” he muttered. “I’m in love with Steve Rogers.”
The rest of his shift passed in a blur, Tony caught off guard and a little overwhelmed. The thing was, when he really stopped and thought about it, these feelings weren’t exactly new. In fact, he had a feeling that even while he’d been completely in love with Pepper, and even when he and Steve had been at their absolute worst, there’d been a part of Tony still a little in love with Steve. The way they’d worked so intuitively together, even when they were at odds, the way they’d be so in sync over the weirdest things… there’d always been a spark there. And now alone together, able to talk, and relax, and really take the time to understand each other, he supposed it made sense that that spark would grow into something real.
When he finally wandered in the front door, mind still a bit of a wreck, Steve was standing in the kitchen, cooking them dinner, which looked like it consisted of panned fried hamburgers and… Tomato soup, for some reason. He must have heard the door, but he didn’t look up, humming to himself as the meat sizzled in the frying pan. His hips were swinging a little in rhythm to whatever song he had playing in his head, and his shoulders were loose and relaxed, carrying exactly none of the tension that Tony typically associated with Steve. The whole scene was hopelessly domestic, and Tony wanted nothing more than to step up behind Steve, wrap his arms around his waist and kiss the back of his neck, just to see the squirmy little ticklish shoulder shrug that he would get in response. He was totally gone for the man.
“Aw, fuck,” Tony muttered to himself.
Steve did look up at that, looking over at Tony with a bright smile. “Hey Tony.”
“Hey honey, I’m home,” he answered automatically, getting a chuckle out of Steve before he frowned at Tony a little.
“Hey, you all right? You’re looking a little stressed.”
Tony waved him off, stripping off the top of his coveralls and noting the way Steve’s eyes went dark at the sight -- it hadn’t taken him long to realize that Steve had a thing for this particular look. “Just a long day,” he reassured him, hopping up on the counter beside Steve. He made a grab for some of the cooked burger and got his hand swatted with the spatula for his trouble. “Wow, domestic abuse,” he deadpanned.
Steve rolled his eyes. “What a drama queen,” he retorted, equally dry. “They’re almost done, just a few more minutes. Then we can sit down, and you can tell me allll about your long day.” He looked back up to give Tony a lecherous look. “Or not, and we can just skip to the part where I make you feel better,” he offered, waggling his eyebrows and looking pleased when Tony snorted.
Tony was quiet a moment, watching Steve’s hands manipulate the food. “Hey, Steve?” he said finally. “Can I ask you a question?”
Tony fluttered his eyelashes at him, not wanting it to come across too seriously, in case he was reading everything all wrong. “Are you my boyfriend?” he sing-songed.
Steve choked on his own spit, coughing for a minute, but when he’d caught his breath back he was grinning like an absolute idiot. “I mean, I guess, sure,” he offered. “I hadn’t given it much thought.”
Tony arched an eyebrow at him; he knew Steve well enough to know that the flush on his neck said otherwise.
“Okay, I’ve maybe thought about it once or twice,” he admitted sheepishly. “We can be, uh… Boyfriends, if you want. Like you said, this is whatever we want it to be. I know these are weird circumstances, but if we want to, we can call it boyfriends for now.”
For just an instant Tony felt his smile freeze on his face, but he masked it quickly, leaning forward to give Steve a sloppy kiss on the cheek before he could read the look in his eyes. “In that case, boyfriend , call me when dinner’s ready. I’m just gonna wash up.”
He slipped off the counter and headed down the hall for the bathroom, adding an extra wiggle to his walk to make Steve laugh. But once he hit the bathroom, he shut the door behind him and leaned back against it with a sigh. Boyfriends for now pretty much said it all. He probably shouldn’t have been surprised. These were wild circumstances. There was nothing wrong with Steve wanting to take a bit of comfort where he could find it. And if Tony had been hoping for something more, that could stay between him and the bathroom walls.
They didn’t talk about it again, at least not in so many words, but they talked about everything else under the sun and that was somehow even better. Steve loved sex with Tony, really truly did. Just a look from the other man could set him shivering, heat spiking up and down his spine. Tony seemed to take special delight in finding all the ways he could make Steve fall apart, surprising him over and over again. Steve had all but given up his own bedroom, spending his nights with Tony instead and they’d spend hours lying there sometimes, Steve splayed out and feeling like he was slowly going out of his mind as Tony kissed and touched and teased every square inch of his body.
But afterwards, when Steve had come more times than he’d thought possible, when Tony’d had his fill and would slide off Steve to stretch out beside him instead, for Steve that was almost better than the sex. They’d talk well into the early hours of the morning. Steve had told Tony how desperately lonely he’d been for the past five years, how nothing he’d done seemed to ease that ache inside him. Tony talked about Morgan, how completely he missed her, telling story after story about how brilliant she was already, putting him to shame, but also how creative and sweet and kind. He’d sound awed when he talked about her, which had led to confessions about how his own father had been. Steve had been horrified, hands tightening around Tony like he could somehow make up for it. And then next night, when he told Tony how proud he was of him for letting the bullshit die with Howard, that even from the brief interaction he’d witnessed, he could tell Tony was an amazing father, Tony hadn’t bothered to hide the way he’d choked up a little.
Nothing was off the table (except, perhaps, their exact feelings for each other, but neither of them brought it up so it was fine), the darkness, and the heat, and the fact that they were the only two here who could understand their situation making it easy for secrets to spill out. Maybe it was just the fact that they were caught in a bit of a limbo, that deep down Steve knew that nothing they did here would really matter once they got back to their proper point in time. But his time with Tony was easing something inside him that he hadn’t even realized was aching, was making him feel whole again. He wanted to get back, to make things right, of course he did. He just also couldn’t help thinking that he wouldn’t mind being stuck here with Tony just a little longer.
They slowly settled into even more of a routine than they’d had before. They ate dinner together every night, talked about their day before they’d slink off to bed together. Some nights they wouldn’t even do anything, just sprawl out on the bed, touching despite the heat until they drifted off to sleep. They went grocery shopping together once a week, and one day Tony came home with a second hand badminton net that he’d found somewhere. Steve had never played badminton, but they set the net up anyway, and Tony had showed him how to play. There were more barbecues, with the guys from Tony’s work, mostly, but there were a couple for the paper that Steve worked at too. Nobody seemed to look askance at Steve bringing along his roommate. Maybe it was just an extension of fighting side-by-side for so long, but having Tony with him here just felt right in some kind of visceral way that Steve couldn’t put a name to but that he loved anyway.
Steve was once again going over the Fort LeHigh plans that they had managed to cobble together, when the front door slammed open. “ STEVE !” Tony hollered at the top of his lungs.
“I’m right here,” Steve answered, turning to meet Tony as he heard him rush up the hall. “What’s wrong?”
But even as he asked, Tony came into view, an enormous smile on his face, and it was pretty clear that there was nothing at all wrong.
“What?” he asked again, because there still had to be a reason that Tony was home hours early, grinning like an idiot.
“I can’t believe I forgot,” Tony told him. “Do you know what tonight is?” he added, even though he knew perfectly well that Steve didn’t. “Planet of the Apes comes out. In theatres!”
Steve blinked at him. “Is that all?”
“Is that all?” Tony repeated incredulously. “I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.”
Steve cracked then, laughing. “Tony, you’ve seen that movie more than a hundred times. Which I know because you’ve made me watch it a hundred times.”
“Yeah, but this is different,” Tony insisted. “It’ll be in theatres, Steve.”
“You’ve done that before, too,” Steve pointed out. “Remember? That 45th anniversary theatre showing or whatever? I distinctly recall you and Colonel Rhodes talking about it.”
Tony just shook his head. “It’s different,” he said again, making a face at Steve. “Just hurry up and get dressed, you damn dirty ape.” He waggled his eyebrows, making a show of staring at Steve’s bare chest; he hadn’t bothered getting redressed after his run. “I’m taking you out.”
And really, Steve was helpless to resist that thrilled look on Tony’s face. And even though he had to pinch Tony several times to keep him from whispering the lines along with the characters, it was a very enjoyable evening. They’d sat at the back of the theatre, Tony claiming it was because Steve would block the view for whatever poor asshole got stuck sitting behind them, but halfway through the movie, when their shared popcorn was gone, he curled his greasy fingers with Steve’s, rested their joined hands on Steve’s knee, and snuggled into him a little, resting his head against Steve’s shoulder. He could smell the faint, pleasant scent of Tony’s shampoo, and couldn’t resist turning his head a little to press his face against the soft curls of his hair. He pressed a soft kiss against Tony’s scalp and in return received a soft little content sigh from Tony.
Abruptly Steve realized that, for all the activities they’d done together, they hadn’t been on an actual proper date before -- and that’s what this was, whatever Tony’s original intentions had been in dragging him out.
Settling a little more comfortably against Tony’s side, Steve decided that was something he was going to fix immediately.
So the next morning, after Tony had made their customary Saturday morning pancakes, and they were sitting around the kitchen table, pleasantly full and content, Steve curled his hand around Tony’s. “So listen,” he said, doing his best to ignore the way Tony gave his hand a heated look before glancing up to meet his eyes. “I’ve been thinking, and we’re under a lot of stress, with working and trying to find a way out of here and everything.” Admittedly, it wasn’t his best excuse; the stress was real, but he felt a step removed from it, and was pretty sure Tony did too. Even from a purely business perspective (if you could consider the Avengers a business), this had definitely become the easiest mission he’d ever been on. Tony seemed to agree, giving him a mildly skeptical look but gesturing for him to continue. “So I was thinking that it probably wouldn’t hurt for us to plan to take a break regularly,” he said, feeling his cheeks starting to glow. “And I had a really fun time last night, so I was wondering if you’d let me take you out tonight? Repay the favour?” he added, all in a rush.
Tony tilted his head at him, curiously, and then he was beaming bright and wide. “Steve. Are you asking me out on a date?”
Steve shrugged, but he was helpless not to return Tony’s brilliant smile. “I mean, I guess?”
And just like that, Saturday night date night was born.
Steve knew he shouldn’t get too complacent, that getting used to this was only going to end in heartbreak. Tony had said this was whatever they needed it be, just whatever it took to get them through. The implication was pretty clear that once they got back home -- and they would, eventually, Steve had to believe that or else what were they even doing anymore -- things would go back to something like normal. He probably wasn’t doing himself any favors, giving himself this glimpse of what they could really have. But he knew, deep down, that he wasn’t going to be able to forget it either way, so he figured he might as well enjoy it now.
Tony actually happened to think vegetables were delicious. But there was something about the very specific look of consternation that Steve would get every time he found another box of poptarts or gummy candies or whatever hidden in the cart that Tony couldn’t get enough of. He was feeling punchy today for some reason, snickering to himself with everything he managed to slide into without Steve noticing. There was a good chance that Steve was just humoring him, since Tony couldn’t imagine anyone actually sneaking something past the man, but then again he’d worked with the STRIKE team for almost a full year without realizing they were literal Nazis, so who knew? Either way, he was having a stupid amount of fun with it.
“Oh my god,” Steve groaned as he realized that under the loaves of bread and packages of pasta, Tony had managed to fill the entire bottom of the cart with bags of jumbo marshmallows. “You are literally five years old,” he added.
Tony just shrugged, giving Steve a sugar sweet smile, and Steve fought back his own laughter.
“Make you a deal,” he offered. “You can keep three bags of marshmallows if you stop adding in everything else you see.”
“Oooh.” Tony eyed him; he didn’t actually care about the sweets, but tormenting Steve was its own brand of delightful, especially now, when Steve took it as the gentle teasing it was meant to be, didn’t get his back up about it. “Throw in some chocolate and graham crackers, and you’ve got yourself a deal.”
Steve stared blankly back at him. “What do you need graham crackers and chocolate for?”
“Steven Grant Rogers,” Tony hissed. “Are you trying to tell me you don’t know what s’mores are?”
Steve didn’t even last a full second before he was breaking, snickering to himself. “You’re so gullible sometimes. I may not have ever had them, but I do know what a s’more is, Tony.”
Tony frowned, tilting his head before shaking. “Okay, nope, I give. I can’t tell -- are you telling the truth, or are you still fucking with me?”
“You’ve really, honestly never had a s’more before? How is that even possible??”
Steve gave him a fond eye roll, even as he added the extra ingredients to the cart. “Contrary to what you seem to think, I wasn’t ever actually a boy scout. There weren’t any camping trips in 1930s Brooklyn. Where do you think I would have melted the marshmallows? On the heater? Admittedly, I spent a lot of time in the woods during the war. But that wasn’t exactly a romp with campfires and ghost stories, what with the whole hiding from the Nazis and Hydra thing.”
“You’re such an asshole,” Tony muttered. “But after that? You’ve really never had s’mores since? With the team or something? Nat seems like she’d enjoy a good s’more.”
Steve just shrugged. “Don’t know what to tell you. Never had ‘em.”
“Well, that changes tonight, Rogers. We’re having a bonfire.”
Tony had added three packs of hot dogs to the cart -- Steve would eat them, he knew -- and after they got home, relegated him to the kitchen while he got everything set up in the yard. Steve had looked skeptical, but when Tony finally called him out to where he had a bonfire burning brightly and a blanket spread out on the ground (because some of us have minor grass allergies, Steven), he looked impressed.
“Wow. Tony, this is… Really nice.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “You don’t have to sound so surprised,” he grumbled, offsetting his complaint by wrapping his arms around Steve’s waist and kissing him on the cheek.
“No, I’m not,” Steve said, holding Tony against him a moment longer when he started to pull away. “You just… Don’t really seem like the camping type,” he added tactfully.
Tony snorted. “I’ve camped! … Once… Okay, a camper I am not. But Rhodey and I used to have bonfires on the beach when we were at MIT, and I was the designated fire starter. And when I was a kid, Jarvis used to let me help set up the fireplaces in the old house. I don’t know why, that was one of my favourite things.” He hummed, quiet and contemplative for a moment, and then pulled away to grab a package of hot dogs, slamming them into Steve’s chest. “Now grab a stick, Rogers, and start roasting.”
They sat out there for hours, cooking, and talking, and laughing. The sun had faded and the stars had come out long before Tony pulled out the s’mores ingredients, the two of them getting in a sticky mess as they squashed together the sweet treats.
“So?” Tony asked when they were full and satiated and sitting back on the blanket. He arched an eyebrow at Steve. “What’s the s’more verdict, Captain Handsome?”
Steve shrugged. “I don’t know, I think they’re kind of overrated. I prefer the marshmallows alone,” he told him, popping one of said marshmallows, unroasted, into his mouth.
Tony blinked at him. “Overrated?” he repeated incredulously. Then he saw the way that Steve was grinning at him, lips twitching up in a smirk. “You are such a troll,” he grumbled. “I’ll show you overrated.” Without any further warning, he launched himself at Steve, feeling a little gratified at the almost inaudible grunt that Steve made as he took his weight. He knew Steve could take him easily, especially when he didn’t even have an Iron Man suit, but Steve pretended otherwise for a minute, letting Tony knock him back as the two of them rolled around on the blanket and then into the grass, each trying to get the upper hand.
It didn’t take long before their movements shifted, less wrestling, more sliding up against each other with purpose. Tony could feel his cock thickening in his pants, sparks of pleasure going through him every time Steve’s hand would slide over his skin just right. He shifted a leg, getting it between Steve’s knees, and when he pressed up he could feel Steve hot and hard against him, the feeling made better by the sharp, needy little gasp that he made in response. They ended up with Tony spread out on top of Steve, the two of them rubbing off against each other as they shifted and rolled in the grass, stifling their noises against each other’s skin so the neighbours wouldn’t hear. Tony had his hand shoved down Steve’s pants, jerking him off with quick, sharp motions, and his face buried in Steve’s neck. He could smell wood smoke in his hair, and when he pulled back a little, he could see the starlight reflected in his eyes before they clenched shut as Steve came over his hand. Steve lay there for a moment, panting, and Tony took a moment to look him over in the dim light from the fire before Steve pulled himself back into awareness to roll Tony over onto his back and pay him back in kind.
It was up there with some of Tony’s best memories.
He should have known it wouldn’t last.
They were at the grocery store again, goofing off and being idiots, probably laughing too loud, when all of a sudden Steve froze, going pale. Before Tony could ask him what was wrong, he was grabbing Tony’s arm and dragging him around the corner and down an aisle, leaving their half-filled cart abandoned in front of the cereal.
“Steve, what?” Tony finally managed to hiss as Steve pulled him past the baking supplies and then zig-zagged ridiculously through the produce section. He half expected Yakety Sax to start playing over the loudspeaker.
“I just… I saw someone I recognized. Like from the forties recognized,” Steve answered vaguely, aiming for the front door.
“Do you think they’d recognize you?” Tony asked a little stupidly, although his behaviour made the answer pretty obvious.
“Uh, yeahhhh,” Steve answered anyway. “I think so.”
They made it out of the building without being caught though, Steve looking over his shoulder as they headed down the street. He made Tony cross the road, turning down a side street they wouldn’t normally take, and he was just breathing a sigh of relief when they rounded the corner and were met with Peggy, standing there waiting for them with a furious expression on her face.
For a long moment everything went almost comically still, Peggy and Steve standing frozen, staring at each other, Tony looking back and forth between them in a mild state of shock. Then the anger seemed to fade out of Peggy all at once, shoulders sagging a little as she took a half step forward, making an abortive gesture like she was going to touch Steve’s chest before she remembered herself.
“It is you,” she breathed.
Steve opened his mouth to say something, anything, but before he had the chance he was interrupted by Tony, still staring at Peggy with wide eyes. “Aunt Peggy?!” he blurted out, because he knew Peggy had cofounded SHIELD, and he knew she had worked with his Dad, he just somehow hadn’t expected her to be here, looking almost exactly as he remembered her from when she’d come visit when he was growing up. She used to spend hours sitting with him, listening patiently as he explained the workings of all his machines and inventions. She’d always encouraged him, and he found himself getting choked up seeing her now.
And then he glanced over at Steve, saw the look on his face as he stared back at her, and Tony felt his heart sink a little.
Peggy had turned sharp eyes on Tony at his outburst, looking him over, but now she looked back to Steve and without hesitation poked him square in the chest. “Explain,” she told him. “How are you possibly here? And why is this man who looks exactly like Maria Stark calling me ‘aunt?’”
Tony would never fully understand how, but somehow Steve managed to convince Peggy to come back to their place. And then he sat her down, and told her everything. How he’d been found in the ice, how the avengers had formed, about Tony being her ‘nephew’ and also Iron Man, and then about Thanos, how they’d lost everything and were doing everything in their power to make up for it now.
The one thing he didn’t mention, Tony couldn’t help noticing, was the relationship they’d developed over the last few months.
Peggy took it far better than Tony would have expected. Although, he supposed, if she’d helped found SHIELD, she’d probably been dealing with far crazier shit than this for years.
“So if I’m to understand correctly, you two are from the future. And you,” she turned to Tony here, “Are my godson. And you used Hank Pym’s… science experiment to figure out time travel and come back here and get that cube that Howard found in the ocean. To save the world.” She drew in a long breath as Tony and Steve both nodded, waiting for her to process the information. “God, Hank is going to be impossible to live with when he finds out,” she muttered. She drew in a deep breath, smoothing down her hair -- a move Tony remembered from when she’d try to keep her cool with Howard when he was a kid -- and then looked back over at Steve. “I take it you two are responsible for the breach a couple months back?” She didn’t wait for their confirmation, the question rhetorical. “Well, I suppose once again it’s up to me to clean up your messes, eh Captain?”
The smile she gave Steve was a little dry, but fond and familiar in a way that made jealousy twist low in Tony’s stomach. But even worse was the way Steve smiled back at her, sheepish and full of so much history and love that it almost ached to see. For a moment Tony felt like he had disappeared from the room entirely, the two of them only having eyes for each other. Somehow Tony managed to act normal as Steve and Peggy made plans for when and where they’d meet and how they’d stay in contact, even though it felt like he was losing a little more of Steve with every word that passed between the two of them. And when Peggy had left, and Steve turned to him with the broadest grin Tony had ever seen, still looked awed and dazed and delighted in the wake of her presence, the smile Tony gave him in return was almost genuine. He waited until Steve had left the the kitchen, wandering down the hall for something, before he pressed the heels of his palms against his eyes and whispered a very quiet, very heartfelt, “Fuck,” into the empty room.
Tony wanted to go home. More than anything in the world he wanted to see Morgan again, missing his little girl a constant pit in the bottom of his stomach, even in his happiest moments. But being here with Steve was easy in a way his life had never been before, no stressors, no superheroing, no being recognized on the street… No end of the world barreling toward them faster than they could stop it. Now that they were close to going home, he couldn’t seem to appreciate the last few days they had here together, just he and Steve alone. They still talked, and fooled around, and did all the things they’d been doing before, but the time was passing in a blur. It didn’t help that Steve had been distracted since they’d found Peggy; more than once Tony had caught him staring into space with a soppy smile on his face. There was a growing feeling creeping through his stomach that he might be making the return trip solo.
And then he was out of time entirely, the two of them meeting Peggy in some back alley for the hand off. It had, she assured them, gone off without a hitch, but that wasn’t a surprise. Peggy had always been strong and brilliant, confident and capable. On some level it probably should have been weird that he was jealous of his aunt, but mostly Tony was just resigned to the fact that this was it. Peggy and Steve were staring at each other again, couldn’t keep their eyes off of each other, and Tony felt like his heart was somewhere around his ankles.
“I’ll, uh, I’ll let you two… Chat,” he mumbled, uncharacteristically awkward as he took the two briefcases that Peggy had brought and headed for the main road, forcing himself not to look back at them.
In a weird twist of deja vu, he ended up sitting on the same bench where he’d found Steve on that first day, after everything had gone tits up. He sat there, staring off into space and thinking of a million things at once, and it hadn’t been a full half hour before a shadow passed over him and then Steve took a seat on the bench beside him, their thighs not quite touching.
Steve was staring forward, maybe trying to figure out what Tony was looking at but he hadn’t spoken, so Tony didn’t either. Eventually, though, he couldn’t stand the silence any longer, clearing his throat.
“You, uh… You don’t have to come back with me, Steve,” Tony told him, giving him an out. He felt Steve snap his gaze to him, heard him make a strangled sort of noise, but he narrowed his focus to a tree in the distance and kept going. “If you’re finally happy… We can do it without you. Probably. Maybe. I don’t know, we’ll figure it out. I know you’ve already sacrificed a lot, more than anyone ever should have to, really. You can be selfish, for once.”
He turned to face Steve then, because he really didn’t want Steve to stay, but he needed him to know that he truly meant the words he was saying. He had fallen in love with Steve, and because of that he couldn’t bear to stand in his way.
Steve was staring straight again, leaning forward with his elbows braced against his thighs, hands clasped together between his knees. He blew out a long breath, and Tony tensed, bracing himself.
“You’re right. I am selfish, Tony. I’m real fucking selfish.”
Tony bit down hard on his bottom lip; expecting it didn’t make it hurt any less. But then Steve was turning to face him, a shy, hopeful smile on his face offset by the determination in his eyes.
“And no way in hell am I giving this up. Giving you up.”
For a moment Tony was actually rendered speechless. “You… what?”
Steve shrugged. “I’m in love with you, Tony. It’s as simple as that. And I know you said this was whatever we needed it to be, and maybe that means you don’t have the same kind of feelings, but --,”
“God no, are you kidding?” Tony burst out before he could even stop himself. “I was already half in love with you when I said that, and it’s just gotten... more since. I just… I know that extreme situations aren’t the most conducive to long-term relationships, and I didn’t want you to feel pressured, so…”
He trailed off helplessly and Steve chanced a quick look around before darting in to kiss him. It was quick, because it was still a public place in 1970, but full of love despite that. When he pulled back, Tony shifted his hand to curl over top of Steve’s, squeezing tight.
“What… What about Peggy?”
Steve’s eyes were dancing. “What about her? She’s married, Tony, happily so. I just… I wanted to see first hand that she was okay, and she is, more than. She’s moved on, and… And so have I.” He grinned then. “She did tell me I was an idiot though, if I didn’t say anything to you because she’d never seen two people more obviously pining for each other. And uh, then she threatened that if I didn’t treat her godson right she’d be bringing me a wealth of pain.”
“Oh,” Tony said faintly, but he was laughing then too. “Well alright then.” He leaned in to give Steve one more quick kiss. “I love you, Steve,” he told him, because it seemed important that he say the actual words. “Now let’s go home and save the world. Again.”
THREE DAYS LATER
Tony snapped back to consciousness all at once with a sharp gasp, blinking his eyes open. The first thing his gaze focused on was Pepper and Rhodey, standing at the foot of his bed with watery, relieved smiles, Pepper holding Morgan in her arms.
“Daddy!” she shrieked. “You’re up!” She started wriggling frantically, attempting to leap onto the bed and making Pepper wince.
“Morgan, sweetie, remember how we talked about how you have to be careful with Daddy for a bit?”
“I don’t know.” And that was Steve’s voice, sounding gruff, but when Tony snapped his head up to see him leaning against the doorway, he was beaming brightly and looking just a little smug. “I think he can take it.”
After solemn promises from Morgan that she would be careful, Pepper finally set her down and Morgan scrambled up on the bed beside him. With strength that he knew he shouldn’t have had, he wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tight enough that Morgan protested a little. She smelled fresh and clean and like her apple honey shampoo, and it was quite possibly the best thing that Tony had ever smelled. God, he had missed her so much.
Morgan settled onto the bed beside him, telling him stories about everything he’d missed the past few days, everything she’d been doing with Uncle Happy. Tony did his best to follow along in his shell-shocked state, because the last thing he remembered was snapping his fingers, all of the infinity stones in his hand, and he was pretty sure that meant he wasn’t supposed to be here now.
Eventually it was decided that Tony should get some rest, and so with a final, clinging hug from Morgan, Pepper escorted her gently off the bed. Her hands shook a little as she closed them around Tony’s, leaning in close to place a soft kiss against his cheek.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” she whispered softly, a slight tremor in her voice.
They headed for the door but Rhodey lingered a second longer to lean in and give Tony a hug. “Gotta stop doing this to me, man,” he told him, and Tony could hear the tears in his voice, felt his own throat close up as he hugged Rhodey as tight as he could manage.
“I know,” he mumbled, burying his face against his neck. “I’m sorry.”
Rhodey pulled back just a little, enough so he could meet his eyes and give him a pointed look. “And sometime soon,” he added, “You are going to sit down and tell me exactly what the hell happened between you and Rogers while you were getting the Tesseract.”
Then he was moving away, leading Pepper and Morgan out the door with a hand on the small of Pepper’s back. Steve had moved out of the way to let them pass into the hall, but once they were gone he moved back into the room, coming to sit on the side of Tony’s bed now that it was just the two of them. For a long moment they just stared at each other and then Tony shook his head.
“Steve… What did you do?”
Steve shrugged, feigning casual. “Funny thing about spending so much time together. I knew exactly what you were planning with the stones. So I just stepped in and… Helped.”
Tony stared back at him incredulously, still half feeling like he was dreaming. “Right,” he said, voice a little faint. “Okay. And we’re alive and healthy and whole… How?”
“Uh, Carol brought a special something from somewhere. I didn’t catch the details; I was pretty fucked up for a bit too. But…” He gave Tony his best innocent, hopeful smile. “As you can see it did the trick.”
“Jesus Christ,” Tony muttered. Then he was lunging forward, practically crawling into Steve’s lap in his haste to kiss him. Steve took his weight easily, pulling Tony the rest of the way toward him as he wrapped his arms around his back, mumbling soothing words and stroking a hand over Tony’s spine. “You absolute idiot,” Tony gasped, allowing himself the comfort as he buried his face in Steve’s neck. “You could have been killed too. What the fuck were you thinking?”
Steve huffed out a laugh, but his voice was rough and thick when he spoke. “I thought I told you, Tony. I’m real fucking selfish.” He pulled Tony back so he could see his face, see how absolutely serious he was. “No way in hell am I giving you up.”