Learning Opportunity

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: Many thanks to my betas, elspethdixon and seanchai, for looking over this for me. If something doesn't make sense to you, blame me, not them; I exerted authorial privilege in one case. :-)

Kate stepped off the elevator and paused in the large common area for an uncertain moment. She tried not to disturb the Avengers. All of the Young Avengers did, really. I mean, sure, the Avengers were training them, but all of the Young Avengers wanted to prove that they could stand on their own two feet. Plus, it was the Avengers. They were...a little intimidating.

But they were also just upstairs from Young Avengers headquarters, which made them seem almost accessible. If there was one thing Kate was learning, hanging out with the rest of her team, it was that being the only non-powered member meant she needed to take advantage of every opportunity to learn and build her skills. Neglecting the wealth of experience living just a couple of floors away because she was a little nervous would be stupid. It had been quiet lately and she knew that almost everyone, including May and Jarvis, were taking advantage of the opportunity to run some errands, so if she came up to ask a couple of questions today she wouldn't be crowded.

"Hello?" Kate called out hesitantly, taking another step into the giant apartment. No one answered. Damn. What if they were all out?

Well, at least she'd get a chance to explore. Kate wandered around the living room, peering at the paintings on the walls and poking at the other decorations. According to gossip, Stark had meant for the place to be his home before he'd given it to the Avengers for their new headquarters. That kind of put the giant paintings of the Avengers in a new light. Okay, so maybe they'd been added after he'd repurposed the place, but Kate had an eye for design and the way they fit into the decor suggested the space had been designed with the giant paintings in mind.

Well, no one ever claimed Tony Stark was normal.

Wandering out of the common area, Kate found a hallway with a couple of doors opening off of it. She pushed one of the doors open and bit her lip when it revealed a bedroom. She paused, but pulled the door closed and was turning to leave that hallway when she heard a soft groan.

So someone was here. And maybe not feeling too good, from the sounds of that-- Oh, who was she kidding? She might be a teenager, but Kate had older siblings who hadn't always been that quiet when they brought their dates home. She knew exactly what kind of groan that was.

She should leave. She knew she should leave. But...if one of the team was home, she was pretty sure it was Stark, and a man like Tony Stark could have anyone he wanted. Kate couldn't help but wonder what kind of woman he'd bring home with him. Take to bed with him. What kind of lover would a superhero be, anyway? Extra gentle, afraid of hurting his partner? Aggressive, loving with as much passion as he fought? Kate could feel herself blushing. She'd just peek. She'd be really fast. He'd never know she was there.

Easing silently down the hallway, Kate didn't have to guess which doorway belonged to Stark. It stood open just a couple of inches, as if someone had given it a tug to close it, but hadn't pulled quite hard enough. She crept up to the gap. It was the middle of the afternoon, there should be more than enough light to see. Almost holding her breath, Kate peered through the space--

--and froze, eyes going wide with shock. It was Stark, all right, but he wasn't in bed with some gorgeous, curvy woman. He was in bed with Captain America. Well, Steve Rogers, anyway. There sure as hell weren't any costumes in evidence at the moment.

She had to go. She really, really had to go. But no matter how many times Kate thought it, she couldn't make herself move, couldn't make herself even look away. They were just so beautiful.

Wrapped in armor the way he usually was, it was easy to forget that Tony trained in hand to hand combat just like the rest of them did. But now, even laying face down on the bed, hips raised by a cushion and thighs spread, his arms wrapped around the pillow his head rested on, his body was obviously corded with long, lean muscle.

Steve, on the other hand, was big. Not big, like bodybuilders with their puffy, almost cartoonish muscles. No, Steve was built hard and powerful, and his position, pressed against Tony's back from shoulder to thigh, arms curved around next to Tony's on the bed, only made the strength stand out more.

Feeling herself grow warm, Kate could hardly believe she was getting turned on by the men who had become her mentors, but how could she not? The sheen of sweat on their bodies made their skin seem to glow and the way they moved! Even under Steve's weight Tony writhed, his hands clenching rhythmically in the pillow. He turned his head toward the door and Kate stiffened, but Tony's eyes were clenched shut, mouth open as he panted in obvious pleasure. One knee digging into the bed for leverage, Steve's hips rocked against Tony, short, intense movements...

Oh God. Kate bit back a whimper. Not against Tony. Into him. Steve was fucking him, and just as the thought registered Tony moaned, a low, rough sound that made it pretty clear who had groaned so loudly earlier. Watching Steve's thighs flex, the curves of his ass tightening as he thrust into Tony, Kate had a pretty damn good idea what Steve had done to make Tony groan like that. Heat pooled between her legs and she resisted the urge to rub her thighs together, just a little.

"Steve," Tony gasped suddenly, and Kate actually jumped, but neither of them noticed. "Steve, please!"

"Be patient," Steve said, his voice warm and teasing. "You don't want it to be over too soon, do you?"

"Just a little?" Tony begged. Kate was transfixed. She'd never imagined Tony Stark could ever sound so raw, so completely without defenses. "You're so close..."

"Not yet," Steve denied. He leaned down, licking Tony's earlobe briefly before he drew it between his lips, an action that gained a sharp little gasp from Tony. Steve sucked for a moment before letting the lobe go and turning to whisper something into Tony's ear.

Kate couldn't hear him, but whatever he'd said, Tony actually whimpered, his movements growing a little more urgent. Steve smiled and turned into the curve of Tony's neck, placing small kisses along his throat and the angle of his jaw.

The action was achingly tender. This wasn't just sex, Kate realized. They were making love.

Slowly, the ecstatic tension eased out of Tony's expression and his movements became more languid, less urgent. For a moment she thought maybe he'd come, but he still pushed eagerly back into Steve's thrusts, still ground down into the cushion. It was more like he'd somehow gotten past the urgent need for completion and was now just existing in the moment.

"Yes," Steve murmured. "Yes. So perfect, Tony."

They undulated together, faces transformed with bliss, and Kate's heart ached at the intimacy of the moment. Steve shifted his weight briefly, just enough to move his arms, to interlace the fingers of both hands with Tony's. He bent his head to speak into Tony's ear again, but this time she could hear him. "I love you," Steve said quietly, voice shaking with emotion.

"Love you, too," Tony breathed. "So much."

Steve dropped one more kiss on the back of Tony's neck. Then he shifted his weight again, this time changing something in the rhythm of his thrusts, or maybe the angle of them. Whatever it was, it made Tony shudder all over and moan deeply.

"Don't stop. Let me hear you," Steve said as the moan trailed off.

"So good," Tony gasped. "You feel so good. I love how you feel inside me. I love how you move, lighting me--" his voice broke, body jerking back against Steve particularly hard. "Lighting me up inside," he moaned.

Steve's movements grew a little more ragged with every word. Droplets of sweat ran freely down his body, muscles straining as he pushed into Tony. Steve's jaw clenched tight as he visibly clung to control and Kate found herself clenching her muscles right along with him, as if straining towards the same goal.

Suddenly Tony cried out and froze, fine, involuntary tremors running through his body. Steve visibly abandoned control, slamming hard into Tony and stopping there, buried inside him, as he shook with his own climax.

Kate backed away from the door hurriedly, not knowing how quickly they'd recover. She resisted the urge to run down the hallway, knowing she'd make more noise, but she walked as fast as she could back to the elevator, unable to relax until she was behind its doors and descending to the Young Avengers' level of Stark Tower.

In safe territory, Kate leaned against the wall by the elevator and resisted the urge to fan herself. God, what she'd seen.

She could hardly wait to tell the others.