The Means, Not the Ends

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)


"You aren't going to hurt me," Steve said stubbornly, arms crossed over his chest.

Tony laughed harshly. "I'm pretty sure that draining the blood from your veins counts as hurting you." He had to look away from Steve, just the idea of drinking from him making Tony's senses spike until the steady pounding of Steve's heart filled his ears and the rich scent of his blood seemed to come straight through his skin to make his mouth water and his body ache with longing.

"I heal fast," Steve persisted. "I can handle it."

"I need more than a quart every day. The average human body contains 6 quarts and can lose about 10 percent before it causes damage. That's not enough." Tony stared out the glass windows of Avengers Tower and down at the glittering lights of the city at night. He hadn't installed shutters. He wasn't sure there was any point; despite the bagged blood he'd been drinking, he was losing weight rapidly. Reed and Beast were working on the problem, but they couldn't determine any difference between bagged blood and blood straight from the vein. Except, of course, that the one time he'd taken it from the vein, he'd been visibly healthier afterward.

Tony shuddered and pushed the memory away.

Footsteps approached him from behind. Once, Tony had thought Steve moved silently. He could hear him now. "Tony. All the blood you've had for the last three days has been mine."

Tony spun and stared at Steve. "What?!" Donors typically gave less than half a quart. He'd had nine bags in the last three days.

Steve's jaw was set. "I wanted to make sure I could handle it before I offered. Hank's drawn at least a quart every day for three days and I haven't even felt it. He says that my size and muscle mass mean that I have a much higher blood volume than the average person, and that it took less than 23 hours for it to return to normal."

The numbers added up. Oh God, the numbers added up. "I can't do that to you," Tony said wrapping his arms tightly around himself. "If you and Peter hadn't pulled me off of her..." He shuddered again.

Steve's expression softened and he took a step closer. Tony took a step back. "You were starving," Steve said gently. "And confused. And scared."

"Thinking of a human being as food doesn't make me feel any better," Tony said bitterly, looking away from Steve's kind eyes.

"I don't believe that. Can you honestly tell me that the thought of drinking from me feels the same to you now as the thought of...of eating steak felt two weeks ago?"

Tony closed his eyes and tried not to think of it, but it was like telling someone not to think of a pink elephant. His thoughts were instantly flooded with thoughts--fantasies--of Steve's hot skin under his lips, the thunder of his pulse against the sensitive tips of his canines before he slowly sank them into soft flesh, the sudden rush of thick, salty blood into his mouth, glittering with life--

Whimpering, Tony bit into his own lip and gagged a little as the sharp length of his teeth pierced his own skin and gave him the bitter taste of his own transformed blood.

Strong hands gripped Tony's shoulders. "Tony. Please. Let me give you this."

Tony trembled. "I could taste her fear," he whispered.

Steve's voice was a deep well of confidence. "I'm not afraid."

Opening his eyes, Tony dragged his gaze back to Steve's face. "I don't know if I'll be able to stop."

"You'll stop," Steve said simply. He looked completely calm. Relaxed. He was also wearing a v-necked sweater. Tony couldn't help the way his focus slid to the column of Steve's neck. He could actually see his heart beat echoing in the artery there. He needed, God, how he needed.

"We should have a spotter," Tony said, his voice hoarse.

Steve's mouth actually curved into a smile. "I don't think I want an audience for this."

Tony winced. "I know it'll be bad, but--"

"Not bad," Steve interrupted. "Intimate."

"Oh." Tony shifted his weight. "You're sure?"

Instead of answering, Steve tugged on Tony's shoulders, pulling him closer, and tilted his head so that the skin grew taut.

It was too much. Tony gave in, stepped close to Steve, took a shuddering breath, and carefully, quickly, sank his elongated teeth into Steve's throat. The pulse of blood was immediate, surging into his mouth, rich and satisfying, so much better than the cold, dead blood he'd had from bags. It was alive, full of heat and hope and relief and triumph and lust, lust. Tony gulped it down, feeling his body come to life again around him, feeling warmth and strength pulsing through him again. He drank and drank and didn't even know he'd stopped until he felt Steve's hands combing tenderly through his hair and realized he was nuzzling softly at Steve's throat with lips alone. "You're okay?" he mumbled against Steve's skin, though he was already certain of the answer.

"Yes," Steve said. He stroked Tony's hair and the back of his neck for a while longer. "Tony?"

"Mmmm?" Tony felt ready to sleep.

"I gave you enough, right? You got everything you needed?" Steve seemed almost tense as he spoke.

Tony couldn't imagine why he'd be tense. "You're everything I need." He remembered that pulse of lust and his voice was a bit thick when he spoke again. "More than."

Steve relaxed. "Good."