For Best Effect, Apply Liberally and Thoroughly

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

When the Avengers got something resembling a vacation, it was usually in the immediate aftermath of some disaster or another, which meant that they almost always ended up on vacation together. This had always worked out just fine for Steve; the Avengers had always been his closest friends, anyway. Who else would he want to vacation with?

This time it was a little different, though. Not because the fight had resolved itself in an actual vacation spot, complete with beaches and resorts, but because the new Avengers had never done this before. Luke and Jessica and Peter (Logan hadn't been out with them this time, and they hadn't needed Bob enough to ask him) had looked skeptical when Tony had told them to meet back at the QuinJet in two days and had glanced at Steve for confirmation. His nod left them all looking surprised, but they'd moved off uncertainly to explore the little resort town. Individually.

Which was how Steve ended up stretched out on the gigantic beach towel he'd bought, watching Tony rub sunscreen into his arms and legs, no one else they knew in sight. The sun was warm on Steve's shoulders, the sand beneath the fuzzy towel was a comfortable, forgiving surface, and Tony's posture was genuinely relaxed and loose (as opposed to relaxed just for show) for once. Tony was focused on applying the sunscreen, which meant it was safe for Steve admire the way the lotion made his skin shine, the muscles beneath flexing and moving as Tony shifted around to slide his hands over his thigh, fingers dimpling the skin a little, and down around his knee, rubbing at the hollow behind it...

Steve was pretty sure that the Extremis was more than capable of preventing sunburn, but he wasn't about to mention that to Tony.

Tony turned to face him and Steve composed his face into a pleasant but neutral expression. He even managed to hold it when Tony held out the bottle of sunscreen and said, "Get my back?"

"Sure," Steve said casually, though his heart rate had spiked. Tony turned away from him, presenting Steve with the smooth expanse of his back. Letting out a long, silent breath, Steve moved over so that he was more directly behind Tony and squeezed some sunscreen onto his fingers. They'd been out in the sun long enough that it had warmed up and grown a little thinner than usual, and he got more on his hand than he'd meant to.

Well. He'd just have to make sure that Tony's back was thoroughly covered.

Smoothing the lotion over the expanse of Tony's skin, Steve decided that this was officially the best day off he'd had in years. Tony was completely relaxed under Steve's hands. He'd pulled his knees up, folded his arms across them, and was resting his head on his arms, apparently in no rush to stop Steve, though it really didn't take long to rub sunscreen into his skin. Steve kept going as long as he rationally could, but eventually even he had to admit that the lotion had been thoroughly absorbed and didn't required any more rubbing.

Reluctantly, Steve sat back a little. "I think you're good."

"Mmmmm," Tony replied, voice low and almost sleepy. "No, you definitely missed a spot."

Oh no, he hadn't. He'd used every possible stretch of skin to drag this out. Steve started to smile. "I'm pretty sure the Extremis is more effective than sunscreen, anyway."

Tony lifted his head off his arms and shifted around on the towel to face Steve. "You thought of that, huh?" His eyes were twinkling.

"Yeah," Steve said. He felt himself leaning in closer to Tony. "I wondered why the sunscreen."

"Didn't you enjoy the show?" Tony asked, the corner of his mouth starting to curl upwards.

Steve fought down a blush at the realization all that had been for his benefit--and that he hadn't realized that. "Sometimes I can be a little blind," he said apologetically. But not too apologetically, because he and Tony were well inside each other's personal space now, and no one on this beach knew them, and if he turned his head and leaned just a little bit he could be kissing Tony.

"Don't worry about it," Tony said, laughter hiding in the words. "I had fun pulling all the classic moves."

All? How many moves had he missed?

But then it didn't matter, because Tony was kissing him, mouth warm and wet and eager under Steve's. He leaned into the kiss, captivated by the slight rasp of Tony's goatee and the quick, flickering motions of Tony's tongue. Steve chased those little caresses until he captured Tony with a firm, steady motion of his own. Tony made a soft, pleasured noise in the back of his throat, his hand coming up to rest on Steve's shoulder, steadying himself as the kiss went on, neither of them willing to let go, the touch of their mouths too good, too sweet. Steve found himself moving in even closer, until his sun warmed skin brushed Tony's.

Eventually, slowly, their lips parted and their eyes met. Steve wondered if his eyes were as dark and hazy with desire as Tony's had become. Tony opened his mouth to speak and for a moment Steve was afraid he would suggest they go back to the hotel together. As much as he wanted to be with Tony right now, they'd hopefully have plenty of nights to spend in bed together. Days on the beach were in shorter supply. But when Tony spoke, his expression mischievous, what he actually said was, "Want to go for a swim?"

Maybe Tony thought he was teasing, but a swim sounded about perfect. A cool touch on hot skin and dark ocean water to hide the movement of hands and feet... "I could go for a swim," Steve agreed, voice a little lower than usual.

Tony's breath caught and Steve had to hide a smile as he stood and stretched before heading for the water line.