|Ever Fallen in Love With Someone?
Author: Emono PM
Once Steve thought Howard Stark was the "living end". Now he's been thrown into a future where the only person he can trust completely is Howard's son, Tony. Tony's everything his father wasn't, maybe everything Steve needs. SLASH, Daddy issues, unresolved feelings, past Steve/Howard, Nat/Pep, rewrite Ironman 2 w/ Steve, pre-Avengers. Slow bloom love story, lemon. Ever Fallen VerRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Captain America/Steve R. & Iron Man/Tony S. - Chapters: 23 - Words: 143,991 - Reviews: 630 - Favs: 641 - Follows: 548 - Updated: 09-02-12 - Published: 06-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8201548
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
First off, I want to thank every single reviewer I've had. I love every one of you and I wish you nothing but love and cookies. Second, a special thanks to c2ndy2c1d for her awesome fanart of the story. That made me laugh.
I am sorry it took so long but I got behind in my math class because I got a really bad sunburn in the middle of last week then obtained a cold that weekend. It was rough, I missed about three days of class because I either couldn't physically get out of bed or I was too sniffly and feverish. My body is alll jacked up.
Someone asked me about this, so let's just do a quick clarify:
/.../ mean thoughts
Bolded words mean radio transmission
"Italics like this" mean JARVIS
Italics like this out in the open mean old dialogue
Onto the real story!
Tony's head was throbbing, mouth dry and tasting like ass. He'd been sitting there for hours, his lower back was flashing signals of 'pain' and 'stiff' to the rest of him. Thankfully DUM-E kept bringing him water, but he didn't drink too much. The last thing he needed to do was vomit all over the carpet in front of the soldier's room. He was propped against the wall beside Steve's bedroom door, legs stretched out in front of him to ease the ache. He could feel every inch of his hangover creeping over him. He'd spent the first two hours begging until his throat was raw and his voice was gone. Begging for forgiveness, begging for Steve to let him in, begging for a second chance.
Eventually it was just a whine of Steve's name, and then they'd lapsed into silence.
Tony raised his fist, knocking lightly on the door again, "Steve...I'm not going to leave. I'll sit here until I starve."
Tony breathed deep, the air shaking in his lungs, "Do you think I'd be out here if you were anyone else in the world?"
The genius started to whine pathetically, praying he could play on Steve's softer side, "Come on! I'm sorry, I have a migraine, and I think I may have swallowed a sheet of sandpaper. You and I both know I'll sit here forever. All my projects, all the meetings, all my calls...my whole business just down the drain. You know I'll do it. I'm a selfish ass, remember?"
The door swung open, revealing a dark room and a rumpled Steve. Though the serum kept him from getting too exhausted or worn down, he looked rough. One glance into the room revealed a very mussed bed, it seemed as if the super soldier had tried to sleep and failed. There were faint shadows beneath those blue eyes and he was still in the clothes from earlier, though much more wrinkled now.
Steve looked as if someone had kicked his puppy but his jaw was hard.
"What do you want, Mr. Stark?"
"Don't do that" Tony slowly stood up, trying desperately not to fall over "I fucked up and I'm here to fix it."
Steve didn't move out of the way, "I don't listen to apologies from drunks."
"Well this drunk actually means it" he assured him, hoping his guilt wasn't written all over his face.
"It can wait until tomorrow" Steve went to shut the door but a foot stopped him, he glared "I suggest you go to bed. You've made an ass out of yourself quite enough for one night."
"Not nearly" Tony tried to grin but it came off as a grimace "And this is way too important to wait one more minute for. It's bad enough I did it...do you really want me laying in bed thinking about it for the next eight hours?"
Steve winced when he remembered the pistol, the one that had been dangerously close to Tony's temple, "Fine. You can come in."
Tony took the opportunity and darted inside, heart overflowing in his chest. He went for the bed, practically collapsing into the cool sheets. He rolled onto his back and splayed his arms out, taking great breaths of the super soldier's scent. He cracked open one eye, Steve was still standing in the middle of the room with his arms wrapped around his chest. The genius patted the bed beside him, encouraging the man to sit. The super soldier hesitated only a few moments before he uncrossed his arms and walked over, easing down onto the mattress.
"Go ahead" Steve's voice was tight "Whatever you came here to say, just say it and leave."
"I flipped out earlier" Tony began, he wasn't sure how he was supposed to get this out "I came in here to give you breakfast, I tried to wake you up and you...you said my dad's name."
Steve paled, "I had a dream about my change. He was the first person I talked to."
"Yeah, see, that's the problem" Tony scrubbed a hand across his eyes, every word like a tack on his tongue "I've been in that bastard's shadow since I was born. He's had everything first, including you. The way you said his name...the thought of the two of you together...it made me sick. That's why I said some of things earlier about you being his...you know."
Steve scooted closer, slowly lowering his hand to touch the man's knee, "Your dad didn't...have me. First or otherwise."
"Let me finish" there was a note of relief of his voice, but the tone was stern "You wanted to know and I'm trying to tell you."
Steve swallowed down an apology, nodding.
"I started drinking, like really drinking" Tony's fingers fell to his temples, massaging the ache out of both sides "All those stupid memories came back."
/All those old feelings/ he added silently.
Steve couldn't help but ask, one detail tearing up his heart, "What about the gun?"
"That gun has always been there" Tony dropped his hand, catching the bright blue gaze "One way or another, I've had a gun to my head my whole life. I'm reckless and greedy, ask any reporter. They're not wrong either. I grew up taking everything I could. I couldn't get enough."
He looked away when he felt the emotion start to choke him, glassing his eyes over, "I guess I was trying to fill up something inside me, some emptiness. I never knew what I was chasing, but whatever it was I replaced it with as many warm bodies and bottles of booze that I could find."
Tony sat up, blinking back the tears rapidly to keep himself from looking even more pathetic.
"I would never do it, I'm too narcissistic for that. What would the world do without me?" he pulled himself back together, trying to smirk it off "But there's never been a time in my life where I haven't thought about ending it all."
Ignoring the soldier's devastated look, he waved it off, "Anyway. I wanted to say I'm sorry and I deserve to have you beat the ever-loving shit out of me. You want a punch? You got it. Here, freebie. Go ahead."
Tony presented his cheek, clenching his eyes shut.
"I'm not going to hit you."
Tony opened his eyes, brow knit, "Are you sure?"
Steve nodded, jaw locked tight. The genius couldn't get over how handsome the soldier was, even pale and miserable looking. The strong cut of his jaw, the curve of his mouth...he wanted a kiss so badly he ached. He knew he didn't deserve it, not after what he did. Instead he laid his hand over the one on his knee, giving it a squeeze. Steve yanked his hand away with a wince, scooting away again.
"I thought I could trust you" Steve spat "I thought you were the only one in this bastardized time that I could count on. You gave me everything and I thought...well, I don't know what I thought."
Steve stood, his shoulders hunched and his body screaming 'defensive'.
"You can trust me" Tony insisted "I had a bad night, I have those. I tried to shut you out but you broke down my door! I didn't want to be around you when I was like that."
"I should've cleaned your clock" Steve tried not to growl, but his voice was rough "But I wanted you to stop on your own. I trusted you enough to stop and you-" he stopped short, fingers crawling across his neck to touch the bright bite mark "I haven't let anyone this close in a long time, and I wanted so badly to trust you."
"The great Captain America not trusting anyone?" Tony tried to joke but it came off as questioning "I can't see that."
Steve circled for a moment, hands going down to his hips. He breathed deep and low, forcing himself to calm down. He couldn't lose it, not now. Tony had hurt him much too deeply for him to open up again. But now was as good as time as any to share what had happened all those years ago. No matter how much of an ass he had been, Tony deserved to know the truth. Especially if the thought of Howard and himself tortured the genius that much.
"Do you want to know what happened between me and your father?" Steve asked quietly "Will you stop thinking about it if I tell you the truth?"
Tony wasn't sure, "You already told me you kissed him. You said you were in love with him."
Steve scoffed, "You never listen, Tony."
"Okay, tell me" the brunette leaned forward, clasping his hand in front of him "I'm listening now."
Steve took a few more deep breaths, praying for strength and peace of mind. He'd never told anyone about that night, not a living soul. He wasn't sure if his heavy heart could take the reminder but he had to try. He kept remembering it over and over, knowing it wasn't as bad as he used to think it was. There was a time when he thought no fouler play could've been made, but now...now it just seemed petty. A little thing like a drunken fumble was nothing compared to the death of all his friends and nearly 70 years in the ice.
Life was too short for grudges.
He learned that one the hard way.
"Howard was my first kiss" Steve began, shifting his weight restlessly "But he...he stole it."
Xx – FLASHBACK - xX
Steve knocked as carefully as he could, he still wasn't used to his new strength, "Howard?"
The townhouse was large, going up three stories. The blonde pulled his jacket tighter around him to block out the breeze of the night. He looked around, the neighborhood was just as nice as one would expect of Howard Stark. For someone so young he was wealthy, not surprising with as many projects as he had going on.
The blonde knocked again, wincing when the wood cracked a little, "Rats."
The door opened, revealing a rather drunk scientist. The man's clothes were rumpled, suspenders hanging limp along his legs. His hair was a mess, his eyes darker than usual, and a beer was clutched in his hand. The first few buttons of his shirt were undone, revealing the tan skin of his collarbone and a glimpse of his chest. There was a faint whiskey smell to him, he must've been drinking harder earlier.
"Steve?" Howard leaned up against the doorway, eyes narrowed "What're you doing here?"
"I had to get away from that stuffy base" Steve gestured behind him, a little uneasy now that he'd seen the alcohol "I'm sorry, I can come back later. I just wanted to stay the night somewhere normal, and I thought...nevermind. It's silly."
"I'm always on your mind, aren't I?" Howard teased, stepping to the side "Get in here, kid, I got plenty of room."
Steve finally smiled, "Thanks, I appreciate it."
Steve walked past the older man, his new body far more imposing now. He still wasn't used to this frame, it was strange to have height and weight on the inventor. The door shut and locked behind him, but he still didn't suspect anything off.
Howard settled him in what he assumed was a living room, stacks of books and boxes of papers all along the walls. He relaxed on the couch, waiting for the other to come back. He wa glad he came here. He'd be safe and warm, comfortable for sure. Howard was one of the few people he considered his friend so he'd been the obvious choice when he wanted to stay off-base. It was a change he'd needed.
Howard came back in with a fresh beer, already halfway through it.
"I didn't know you drank" Steve ran his teeth over his lower lip "Did something happen?"
Howard grimaced as he took another drink, "You wouldn't understand."
"Try me" the soldier took off his jacket, folding it perfectly before setting it on the other end of the couch "You can tell me anything, Howard, you know that."
Howard strolled in, grabbing a chair and pulling it in front of the super soldier. He sat down with a huff, resting the side of the beer against his temple. He looked the blonde over with a critical eye, then gave a little smirk.
"You see this up here?" he tapped the bottle against his head "This is my greatest weapon and worst enemy. Oh, it never shuts up...it's always thinking and whirring and over analyzing every little thing around me. It's a blessing and a curse, flutter bum. The only way I can get a moment of peace is to kill a few brain cells. Turn down the capacity a bit."
"I wish you'd deal with it another way" Steve gave a little smile "You're far too brilliant to drink like this."
A dark brow rose, "You have a grudge against alcohol?"
"It's a sinful luxury" the blonde flushed, realizing how rude he sounded "I don't mean any disrespect, Mr. Stark! I just meant that I've seen a lot of men get ruined by liquor and I would hate to see you go down that road."
"Don't do that 'Mr. Stark' thing. I hate that" the older man tilted his head back, chest heaving with a sigh "You worry about me, huh?"
"Yes" Steve backpedaled, trying to keep his demeanor with a smile "You're one of my only friends. Isn't it my job to worry about you?"
"Friends, huh?" Howard got up, walking over to the couch "Yeah, we're friends, kid. Do drink a bit much, don't I?"
Steve nodded, heart picking up as the distance between them closed. Howard set his beer on the table, giving the blonde a complete once-over.
"How many friends do you have?" Howard inquired, a dark gleam in his eyes.
"A few" the super soldier rubbed his palms across each other "Bucky, and recently Peggy...some of those guys from the squadron."
"You don't have anyone from your childhood?" the inventor knelt down in front of the soldier,
Steve tried not to pull a face at the mention of it, "Not really. My mother isn't in the best of health, I spent most of my time with her or working."
"You're a real angel" Howard pat the man's knee "You know that? A bonafied saint."
"Howard" he lowered his eyes, getting a tisking noise in reply.
"No, no, I'm serious" the inventor grabbed the boy's chin very lightly, tilting his head back just enough to see those pretty blues "With those eyes...you had to have taken a sweetheart or two."
Steve shook his head a little, a soft 'no'.
"Come on, no one?" Howard teased, but there was an implication there that the soldier couldn't decipher "You've never danced with a dame, you've never got between the sheets with one...have you even kissed one?"
"There was a secretary on base that tried to kiss me" the soldier's nose crinkled up "It was a bad fumble."
"That's too bad" Howard's voice held a breathy note, a smile pulling his lips "You deserve a good first time, kid."
The older man's thumb smoothed over Steve's bottom lip, the blonde parted his mouth without a second thought. Howard's touch was commanding, he didn't think for one moment to put a stop to it. If Steve was honest with himself he wanted it to happen, he craved the touch more than he craved anything else. He'd gladly trade away every drawing skill he had just for one kiss from this brilliant man.
"That dumb broad didn't know what she was messing with" Howard slowly stood, starting to lean over the super soldier and bracing himself with one hand on the couch "You have to treat an angel right."
"I'm not an angel" Steve whispered, the fingers grasping his chin starting to fan across his cheek instead "I'm just a regular guy."
Howard's eyes had never been darker, "We both know that's not quite true."
Steve gasped when their mouths met, eyes wider than dinner plates. He could feel every inch of his face color bright red, the rasp of the man's facial hair against his smooth skin almost electrifying. His hands came up, one grasping at air while the other laid across a clothed elbow. Howard's touch on his face was actually gentle, cupping his cheek and tilting his head just a bit.
The kiss became firmer, more real, and he couldn't stop the rush of arousal that flooded his body. Steve moaned out loud, letting the other lead the kiss. A touch of wetness skimmed across his lips, tasting him much more sweetly than that girl had tried to.
"God, that noise" Howard pulled away for just a moment, trapping those scared azure eyes with his own smoldering gaze "That voice was made to moan."
Steve took in a shaky breath, "D-Don't use His name like that."
"Shh, pretty boy..." Howard hushed, stroked his thumb over the blonde's cheekbone.
"What are we doing?" Steve pushed harder into the couch, terrified and thrilled all at once "You know we can't, we're both...Howard, please."
Steve pushed into the palm on his face, savoring the touch.
"Do you trust me?"
The super soldier shook himself from his stupor, "What?"
Howard smiled indulgently, briefly bussing their noses, "Do you trust me, Steve?"
It was so rare to hear his first name on the man's lips, it shocked him. He gave a small smile and nodded, nothing but truth on his face.
"Of course I trust you" Steve replied without hesitation "I trusted you enough with my life in that machine, didn't I?"
"Then trust me now" Howard tilted his head for another kiss, lips just barely brushing the other's "Let me."
They kissed again, more passionate this time. Steve gave another little moan and kissed back, trying to keep his inexperience minimized. He let Stark do most of the work, leading him into what felt the best. Howard's weight was braced on the couch, bracketing the soldier, keeping them close. The inventor's hand went through his hair, down the back of his neck, nails scratching lightly across his pulse points. He wasn't sure how much time went by but it felt wonderful. Sinfully delicious, though he could start to taste some of the whiskey from earlier. That's when it hit him. This man was drunk and what they were doing could be from drink alone.
"Wait, Howard, you're drunk" Steve pulled back, still smiling and giddy from the kiss "We shouldn't do this while you're-"
Howard stole another kiss, shutting the blonde up. Steve mumbled a few more protests but didn't push him away. He couldn't control his strength at the best of times and now was not the moment to test it. He didn't want to hurt the other, and it was only kissing...
"Gonna make you feel so good, pretty boy" Howard purred, hand creeping down to the younger man's pants. He skillfully worked open Steve's belt, clawing through it until he got to the zipper. Steve yelped and tried to squirm away only to get backed up against the armrest, the older man hovering over him.
"No, stop" Steve pushed at his hands "Howard! What are you doing?"
"I said clam it" Howard's purr turned intoa growl, the other hand coming off the couch and grab the soldier's shoulder. His fingers dug into the muscle, flashes of pain going down the younger man's arm. Steve could taste the beer and whiskey now more than before, stale on his tongue.
Howard growled against his mouth, hand wriggling into the other's pants. Panic flashed through the super soldier, setting off ever warning bell he had. The adrenaline pumped hot an fast into his heart, setting him into action before he could stop himself. He struck out with both palms, striking Howard in the chest so hard the man flew. He was tossed through the air like a doll, cracking against the far wall and falling to the carpet with a thump.
The drunk genius groaned and curled an arm around his middle, pressed up against the wall. Steve watched, horrified, when the man tried to get up and failed. His arms wouldn't support them, trembling from the pain of the throw and the weight of the alcohol.
"Fuck, my ribs" Howard hissed, head ducked to hide his face.
"I'm sorry" Steve whispered, slowly easing off the couch "I'm sorry...I can't...I..."
Steve grabbed his coat and made for the door, tears in his eyes and rage in his heart.
Xx – FLASHBACK - xX
"He wasn't in his right mind, he was too drunk to be himself."
Steve had to uncross his arms, nearly leaving bruises on his own skin.
Tony wasn't shocked but he was completely horrified. He sat stock still on the bed, jaw dragging a bit as the story came to a close. He knew his father was a bastard when he drank but this was a new low. He could see it as if he were there, the stench of alcohol and fear and lust mixed up in a room with two young men with everything to lose.
"I hate alcohol" it was a loaded statement out of the soldier's mouth "It ruins everything."
"My dad was a real bastard when he drank. I already knew that" Tony's voice was hoarse, his heart in his throat "If we're being honest here...he never made any time for me. It was always the company, always the inventions and the meetings and the trips. All of that came before me. People always talk about how I built my first computer before I hit puberty or how I made DUM-E for a science fair project, but no one ever knew why. I guess..." Tony leaned back on the bed, tilting his head toward the ceiling with a heavy sigh "I guess I was just showing off. I thought that if I was amazing, he would pay more attention to me. I swore I'd never be like that, and that's how all this partying and weapons-dealing came around. I tried so hard to be different that I ended up going in a circle, right back into the bottle."
Steve started to come back to the bed but couldn't make himself sit down. Tony tried to catch his eyes but couldn't, both too lost in the past to really see one another.
"I wish he hadn't been neglectful" Steve wet his lips, trying to come to terms with his old friend dropping the ball "I can't help but be angry with him. He let whatever demon was inside him rule his life, he made his choice, but he shouldn't have ruined your childhood like that. You would've been just as brilliant building DUM-E in high school as you would've playing ball in the park."
Tony gave a throaty chuckle, "You're so old fashioned."
"Everyone needs some old-fashioned" Steve replied, thinking of taking that as his slogan.
"I wish he'd been a better father" the super soldier added after a pause "I wish he'd been a better man."
"At least I know why you keep thinking about him" Tony mumbled, then raised his voice "But now you understand why I don't talk about him. I don't want to remember him in any form. Having you here is enough, and I thought if I did all these things with you...you would stop thinking of me as him. Because I strive to be nothing like him."
Steve scoffed, "You act so similar to him."
"No I don't!" Tony snapped, forgetting for a moment that he was the one apologizing.
"What about the drinking?"
"Maybe that, but nothing else."
Steve ran his tongue over is teeth, buying himself a moment to get his cool back, "Howard used to pinch my cheeks a lot. He called me a half a dozen nicknames, he rarely said my real one. It was his way of showing affection."
Tony glanced at him, "He did it to be annoying. I do it because I like you."
The soldier gave a soft glare, "He used to call me 'Dimples' too."
Tony gestured with his fingers, outlying the blonde's body, "Look at you. You scream 'Dimples' all over."
Steve just continued to stare pointedly until the genius gave up with a huffed "Okay, maybe a little" and stood up. Tony ran his fingers over his teeth, then through his hair.
"I feel like death warmed over" Tony scowled, managing to get to his feet with a groan "Can I-?"
"Go ahead" Steve gestured toward the door to the connected bathroom "It's yours."
"No, this floor is yours" Tony jabbed the blonde in the chest when he passed "I have no say here. Remember our deal? The things I give you are yours and yours alone."
Steve actually smiled, heart lightening, "Then what as that whole you-sitting-outside-my-door thing for the past few hours?"
Tony went to pinch the blonde's cheek but stopped, "Okay, you got me."
The genius headed into the bathroom, turning the lights to the dimmest setting. He ran cool water over one of the washcloths, cleaning the sweat from his face and hairline. Steve watched the other closely, his little smile growing as the cream colored cloth glided over tan skin. That neck...something about the curve and muscle there fueled his fantasy. Every dream included him biting and licking every inch of that neck.
Tony was just too attractive to stay mad at, the adorable asshat.
"You know, being like him isn't a bad thing" Steve tried again, desperate to repair this new rift between them "I know you don't want to hear it, but...hear me out."
Tony dried his neck and chin, eyes locked on his own in the mirror. He looked haggard instead of his usual rugged, a shade paler than he would've liked. He didn't look like his dad. The eyes were close, maybe the shade of his hair was similar, but he definitely had looks and brawn over his old man. It could be argued they were equally intelligent, but he was sure he came out on top.
You're just like him. No better.
Steve's words rang through his head like church bells, pestering his migraine. He winced and lowered his head, trailing the damp towel across the back of his neck. He took in a deep, shuddering breath.
"He was brilliant" Steve leaned against the door frame, arms crossed over his broad chest "He could take a whole room with a few words and a smile. He was disrespectful and curt but he always won them back. He was very dedicated to his work. I mentioned a shield and he made me a dozen within a week. That was his flaw, Tony, he had too much going on up here."
Steve tapped his temple with his finger, "He didn't know how to deal with this. Not like you. He just went about it all wrong."
"Well his little coping mechanism made sure he missed everything important" Tony pulled open one of the drawers, fishing out the spare toothbrush "He was never around when I needed him. Every time I had something there was always an excuse. Something in the lab needed fixed or the government needed him, real convenient."
"Do you know how hard it is to hide something important from someone you love?" Steve closed his eyes, he could still remember his mother's face when he told her he was still eating three meals a day despite her medicine cost.
Tony rolled his eyes, mouth full of toothpaste.
"I'm serious" there was some steel in his voice now, the genius actually looked over to find the soldier completely straight-faced "Howard was probably involved with projects and people that he could never talk about. He was involved with S.H.E.I.L.D, right? Whose to say he didn't have other clients who wanted to keep their business secret? Your dad loved to dive right into things without thinking them through. What makes you think he didn't get mixed up with some people who's threats nearly outweighed their rewards? He might've been protecting you."
Tony conceded with a nod, trying to keep an open mind. This wouldn't be the first time he'd thought about his dad's behavior but it was the first time he'd heard it out of someone else's mouth. When he was younger he'd blamed himself, over the years he'd turned it around and slapped the blame on his old man. It still put the business before a child, but the sharp ache eased a little.
"He always was a shady bastard" Tony rinsed ot his mouth, feeling better on the outside now.
"Howard was secretive, yes" Steve corrected "He was worse than you with his feelings. He rarely let anyone in on what was going on inside his head...or his heart."
Stark gave a fierce scowl, "Sounds like you're still in love with him. Even after what he did."
Steve chewed on his full lower lip, guilt hanging like chains off his shoulders, "I didn't tell you whatever happened after."
Tony eased past the soldier, letting their shoulders touch a moment longer than necessary, "I just assumed you two continued to dance around each other like a two completely repressed catholic school children until he...I don't know, cried out your name to a stormy sky while you heroically drove your plane into a half-frozen ocean."
"Am I close?" the genius needled, plopping back down onto the bed "I feel like I'm close."
Steve hissed through his teeth in annoyance, "If you could not be an ass, I'd be happy to tell you."
"It's how I cope!" Tony snapped, impatient.
"Well your coping sucks ass" Steve shot back, mocking the smartass tone. They both jolted out of their bickering when they realized what he'd just said. The soldier put a hand to his mouth, the genius gaped in astonishment.
"Gracious" Steve whispered, the very tips of his ears burning. He prided himself on being such a gentleman and here he was spouting curse words like they were common talk. He's spent too much time watching TV and listening to Tony talk to executives, he was sure of it now. If his mother could hear him now she would turn scarlet and swat him in the head.
Tony was still gaping like a fish, the soldier glanced up at him, "I shouldn't have said that. I apologize. That was inappropriate."
"No, no, it's fine" Tony gestured vaguely "Seems like I've taught you something about the 21st century. Nice usage."
"It was wrong" Steve cleared his throat, brow furrowing "Let's forget the whole thing."
"Stop" Tony protested, reaching out his hand as if to grasp the blonde across the room "Come here."
The genius choked back the endearment 'pretty boy', reminding himself of the nicknames his dad had called the super soldier. Too bad, he liked 'Dimples'. Steve hesitated, starting to turn away.
"Steve" Tony was pleading now and he knew it, the other looked surprised at his first name "Sit down."
Steve rubbed two fingers between his brows, the headache there building, "There's no point in trying to share something with you if you don't care"
Stark glared, "You know I do."
Steve conceded and came over, sitting down on the bed beside him. A hundred different memories ran through his head at once, clogging it up like wet cotton and making him just as uncomfortable. A dozen faces he'd never see again flashed in his mind, a thousand things he'd never see. His mother's death, a potential marriage and happy life with Peggy, maybe even some sort of illicit affair with Howard...he would've fought in every war, he could've been a real hero.
But he lost all of it, he could never go back.
"There are a few things that make me regret taking that dive" Steve folded his hands in front of him, letting his shoulder brush the other's "There was this woman – one helluva a woman – who I had a real flame for. Peggy. She was beautiful and smart and brave and everything I wanted. We could've had a good life, I know it. I made a date with her before I...went down, and I regret not making it. My mom...I wish I hadn't left her all alone. I wish I could've said good-bye, maybe told her I would be alright...wish I would've told her I loved her more."
Steve sniffed, clearing his throat, "And your dad. I regret leaving him like that...I wish I had spoken to him."
Tony processed it all a little slowly, he could perfectly picture Steve with his mother. On bended knee, promising her he'd be back, and then never showing back up. It broke his heart. And Peggy? Steve had loved once? God, this man was perfect. He had an apple pie sweetheart, one who probably pined for him then moved on and married some other gentleman. Once he had a sweet mom who loved him, a mom who probably knit and sewed and baked and mourned her weak heart away when her baby boy didn't come back.
"Fuck" Tony breathed, brow furrowed "You...you didn't talk to him about what happened?"
"Tony" Steve chuckled weakly, amazed at what little Howard had told his son "Your dad and I never talked again after that."
"What?" the genius snapped out of his mom/Peggy daydream, thrown off-kilter "You never spoke after that?"
"Not once" Steve's voice cracked at the end, he sounded like he'd eaten handfuls of broken glass "After the incident Howard refused to apologize. I couldn't figure out what to say and he couldn't get past his pride. I felt bad about hurting him...I couldn't stop remembering his face, his pain..."
Steve dropped his head into his palms, face screwed up, "I wanted to apologize, but when I tried...he brushed me off. He told me to bug off and stop bothering him. If he could have his pride, why couldn't I?"
"He never said anything about a fight" Tony couldn't believe how messed up this whole thing was "He searched for you like a madman. Didn't you tell him he was wrong?"
"We were both wrong" Steve sat up, blue eyes wet and etched with despair "I shouldn't have thrown him so hard. He shouldn't have gotten drunk. We shouldn't have kissed in the first place. Everything was wrong!"
Tony scooted closer, touching the soldier's back, "Steve-"
"And then he went around acting like nothing was wrong at all" Steve turned his head, he couldn't look into those sable eyes while he confessed "Even when Bucky-" he stopped for a moment, the name bittersweet on his tongue "-died, Howard never said a word."
"Sorry" Steve closed his eyes, letting himself see those last moments of his life "Bucky was my best friend. For so long he was my only friend. He believed in me in his own way. He saved my butt in a lot of fights before I got the serum."
Tony let himself rub the other's back, going for comforting, "You really had a whole life before this, didn't you? I forget sometimes."
"It's okay. It seems like a dream sometimes."
"Why didn't you just talk to him?" Tony hated himself for his next words "You loved him, you should've just said something."
"But I didn't love him like that, not after what he did" Steve couldn't believe he was saying this out loud, but it needed to be said "He broke my trust completely, Tony. And when he didn't apologize...I knew he didn't care about me enough to have my heart. I threw myself into my next mission, forcing my mind and heart to believe I didn't love Howard. It was easy. When I lost Bucky and Howard didn't say anything...when he didn't look at me...it broke something inside me. Something I couldn't fix. At least, I thought I couldn't at the time."
Tony couldn't help but needle, "What did you do after?"
"I tried to drink myself into a stupor" he replied with a bite of bitterness "It didn't work, my body processes it too fast. I tried to drink away the ache from Bucky and from you father...but I couldn't. I couldn't get that numb that Howard talked about. It made me hate him even more. It wasn't fair that it worked for him but not me."
Steve found his jaw taken in a rough palm, dragged back into the smoldering gaze, "Tony...we were so cold to each other. It festered between us to the point where we were downright nasty to one another. When I finally realized how stupid we were being, it was too late."
"What do you mean?"
Steve winced, pushing away the hand when the memories forced their way to the front of his mind. The cold...God, it had been so cold. Tony's hand snagged one of his, lacing their fingers and laying their too-hot palms together. He grasped him tightly, using the touch as an anchor. The smell of the inventor was everywhere, stained with alcohol but comforting nonetheless. Close to spicy cologne and a tinge of iron, like metal and blood and oil...all Tony.
"It was in the plane...after I'd watched Red Skull get vaporized...I saw the ice and knew I was going to die."
Xx – FLASHBACK - xX
Steve gaped, watching in shock as the tezzeract burned through Red Skull and down through the hull of the ship. The stench of ozone and seared clothes assaulted his nose. His body ached all over and the taste of blood heavy on his tongue, his own blood. He shucked off his helmet and tossed aside his shield, strapping himself into the cockpit. He fiddled with the controls in hope of communication, stomach bottoming out when when he saw the destination.
"Come in. This is Captain Rogers. Do you read me?" he called into the speaker, praying for an answer.
There was an electric cackle, "Captain Rogers, what is your-"
"Steve, is that you? Are you alright?"
"Peggy?" he couldn't believe his luck "Schmidt's dead."
"What about the plane?"
He huffed, trying desperately to override the controls, "That's a little tougher to explain."
"Give me your coordinates, I'll find you a safe landing site."
Steve glanced at the monitors, a silent curse on his lips, "There's not going to be a safe landing. But I can...try and force it down."
Those missile things were rigged to blow on impact, he'd take out a hundred mile radius with those things.
Peggy paused, "I-I'll get Howard on the line. He'll know what to do."
Howard. Steve tossed his head back against the seat, picturing the genius's smug face. Yeah, he'd know what to do, he always knew what to do. That brilliant bastard...he wished desperately that the man was here with him. Even if he coudln't fix it, at least he could tell him...
Tell him what, he wasn't sure. I'm sorry? You're an idiot? We're both idiots? You're too stubborn for your own good? I wish you didn't drink so much? This is all your fault? I love you? I hate you? I wish we hadn't stopped that night?
"There's not enough time" Steve choked out "This thing's moving too fast and it's heading for New York."
Steve stared out into the sky, it was even more beautiful than from the ground. He couldn't quite catch his breath, he swallowed thickly.
"I gotta put her in the water."
The words tasted like copper and fear.
"Please don't do this" she sounded tearful, it broke his heart "We have time. We can work it out."
She was wrong. There was no time left, he had to act now. Oh God, no time. Time was slipping through his fingers, leaving him behind, forcing him to go. He was sorry, he was so sorry. He didn't regret kissing Howard, he really didn't. He wouldn't exchange it for thousand kisses with peggy. Fuck, he should've loved her instead, why did he have to give his heart away to the wrong person? Now he was panicking. He should've forgiven Howard. Even if it wasn't' his fault he should've said it, he should've been the bigger man.
"Right now I'm in the middle of nowhere. If I wait any longer a lot of people are gonna die."
Howard meant so much to him. Maybe he didn't love him so completely, but he sure as hell couldn't die knowing the man hated him. Maybe he didn't hate him? Maybe Howard was just a coward, like him.
There was no time left, they'd wasted it all.
"Peggy" the steel was slipping from his voice, more 'Steve' now than 'Captain' "This is my choice."
Howard's voice crept through his mind, You want to make a difference? Is that it?
Steve took a moment to touch his cheek, remembering all those not-quite pinches Howard had placed there. His hand dropped to his chest, covering the bold star. This uniform...his shield...this body...he had Howard to thank for it all. Howard made this possible, this was all his fault. To think it had all started because Steve couldn't stop himself from trying to comfort the genius.
I just wanted to tell you that I think you're crazy smart and...I believe you'll change the world one day.
Damn that man for being brilliant...and damn himself for being so easy.
You damn near have the prettiest set of eyes I've ever seen. And I've seen lots.
He never stood a chance against someone like Howard. From the moment he saw him he had his heart. When he heard that voice and saw that vulnerable moment of "why didn't this work?", fate clicked into place. He just hadn't known it. You don't get a choice who you love. What made him think he could stop?
He needed someone. He clenched his eyes shut for a moment, remembering her face. Her hair...shiny, chestnut, curled at the bottom into lovely ringlets. Her eyes mixed with Howard's, swapping back and forth and blending. He really did have a thing for dark hair and eyes, didn't he? He had a type. Under any other circumstances it would've been funny.
The clouds parted, he could see the first bit of the ocean, "I'm going to need a raincheck on that dance."
"Alright" she was crying, he could feel his own eyes stnging "A week next Friday at the Stork club."
He smiled, "You got it."
"Eight o clock on the dot. Don't you dare be late."
Why couldn't he have just loved Peggy? They would've been so happy.
"You know, I still don't know how to dance" Steve remembered his fumble with Howard, the man had deemed him worthless "I've been told I'm useless at it. You're going to have a hard time with me."
"I'll teach you. Don't worry."
His smile faded when all he could see was the ice. Air whooshed in from the open window, the ship was rattling, everything was so loud. Why was it so loud? He couldn't think, he couldn't breathe, his heart didn't know whether to stop dead still or explode. Peggy could tell him, Peggy would do it for him. He may go, but he had to get it out.
"I need you to tell Howard something."
"Stark?" she seemed surprised, sniffling thickly "Yes, yes, anything."
"Tell him" it was getting closer, he clenched his eyes shut and let the stray tears go (no one was here to see him, there was no shame) "Please, just tell him...tell him I for-"
Xx – FLASHBACK - xX
"And then all I can remember..." Steve rubbed his forehead more harshly, there was nothing really coherent after that "All that's after that is ice."
Tony's heart was bleeding for him, "You did try."
"I did" Steve dropped his hand "I wanted to tell Howard I forgave him. I wanted to set things right between us before I died. But I couldn't, I lost time. I lost everything."
Tony wasn't sure what to say. This was the reason Steve was his hero, childhood or otherwise. As self-sacrificing as he was handsome. A fearless leader if there ever was one.
"I didn't know if he'd care" Steve confessed "I wasn't sure if he was a coward or he saw me as just another conquest. I didn't know how much I meant to him."
Tony hesitated, then laid his arm completely across the blonde's back. He rested his cheek on his shoulder, feeling the man relax a bit beneath him.
"I'm glad you're here" Tony whispered "But I wish you didn't have to go through that."
Tony raised his head, "JARVIS, this isn't the time."
"I may have some insight to your father's actions."
"What?" Steve straightened up, Stark's arm falling from his shoulders "How?"
"I believe Captain Rogers' presumed death may have pushed your father over the edge."
"What the hell are yo u talking about?"
"There's a radio transmission from the day of the captain's dive."
Tony's brow furrowed, "What? How did you get that? I've never heard it before."
"I may have slipped into S.H.E.I.L.D's database in anticipation of your request for proof of Howard Starks's emotions involving the captain."
"You sly bastard" Tony grinned.
Steve couldn't believe it, "He's much too smart for just an AI."
"You can say that again."
Steve paused, "Why?"
The brunette gave him an incredulous look, "Are you serious?"
JARVIS cut in, "Shall I play the transmission?"
"It's up to you, Cap" Tony nudged the blonde "It's probably about you. Would it be okay to hear him again?"
Steve nodded, he was sure he could take it. He may have brought all of the pain up to the surface but the thick emotional scars were still in place. He was healed, he could take it.
"Yeah" Steve nodded "I'm fine. It'll do us both good, right? That's the point of tonight...to..." he took a deep breath "I need to know what he really thought of me."
Their hands sought and found one another, fingers lacing once again without a word.
"Radio transmission file name: Carter to Stark #380857, commence."
"Carter?" Steve's eyes slid shut, remembering chestnut curls and dark eyes "Peggy."
There was a crackle, then a click.
"This is Agent Carter. Can you read me?"
It was so strange to hear her voice like this, it pulled at his heartstrings a little.
"This is Dr. Reid, Agent Carter. I copy you."
"I need to talk with Howard Stark."
"Hey there, Peggy, couldn't stay away could you?"
They both tensed up at the familiar voice, Steve's fingers tightened almost painfully into Stark's hand.
"Stark, I have some grave news."
She sounded worn out but strong, always the soldier.
"What's wrong, sweetheart?"
There was a tinge of worry in his voice now.
"Captain Rogers is...gone."
"What?" Howard snapped back.
"Steve took a plane armed with explosives down into the ocean. They're sending a search team but...he couldn't have survived. They tell us to expect a body."
There was a rough sound over the speaker, a smack of flesh on metal.
"You stupid son-of-a-bitch", was the quiet choked response.
"Stark? Howard, did you hear me?"
There was a long bout of silence, then a smash. Both men jumped a little at the sound, a grating metal-on-metal.
"Mr. Stark, please" that was Dr. Reid's voice "I know you're upset, but you have to calm down."
"Fuck off, Reid!"
"He just died for us!" Howard was practically screaming, sounding like he was fighting someone off "Don't you fucking understand? A good man just sacrificed himself for the biggest bunch of ungrateful bastards ever to exist!"
There were other people now, begging Howard to calm down or to stop. It sounded as if Howard was demolishing not one thing but everything in his path. Steve's breath was coming harsher, the slighter man never let go of his hand.
"He was too good for your fucking army, Carter!" Howard was right at the mic, his voice a growl "Too good for this world or this damn war."
Steve smiled to himself. Even after their fight, Howard had defended his worth. It was like balm on his heart.
"Let go of me!" Howard's voice was fading, like he was being dragged away "You don't understand! You're all pathetic idiots! You have no idea what you've lost."
"I'm sorry, Mr. Stark" it was Reid again, sounding upset
"You people..." Howard's voice broke "The one person who deserves to be in this world is gone."
Tony and Steve sat there with their jaws gaping like fish, staring at the far wall and mulling over what they just heard. Their hands clasped, their shoulders touching, they both realized just what the captain had meant to Howard Stark.
Tony recovered first, "He was such an ass."
"A complete ass" Steve replied instantly, a nervous laugh escaping him "But I was wrong. He cared about me. I was afraid he...would be indifferent. I don't think I could bare it if he had been."
Steve realized how sappy that sounded and tried again, "Who knew your old man had a capacity to love anything that he didn't build himself?"
"He loved you" Tony pointed out.
The soldier shook his head, "I know he loved you more. You're his son and heir, his family."
"No way" Tony looked down at their clasped hands, trying to get his mind around the fact that Steve wasn't in love with Howard anymore "My dad has always been and always will be my biggest competition."
"You're hopeless" Steve teased, bumping their shoulders firmly "But maybe that's all the Stark men. You're made of steel, but you're stubborn and are only genius's when you want to be."
They laughed quietly and shared smiles, a little embarrassed over both their reactions.
Steve sighed, heart feeling a hundred times lighter, "I should've told you all this when we first met."
"Well, I shouldn't have drank so much and kinda-sort assault you" the inventor replied easily. He watched the soldier's eyes flicker to his reactor, the cerulean light still bathing both of them. Oh yeah, the device, and his blood. That's why he'd seen Steve yesterday morning, why he'd made him breakfast and heard him say his dad's name. His blood...the toxicity was up.
"Now that I know why you hate is so much, maybe I could lay off the drinking" Tony conceded "It's a bad habit anyway. Pep's been trying to get me to quit for years."
Steve was surprised, he didn't expect any promises out of this, "Thanks, Tony. I appreciate it. Honestly."
Their hands fell apart, Stark scrambled for even a speck of that intimacy back.
"Can I see it?" the genius asked, flicking the tips of his fingers at the man's neck "The mark."
Steve flushed at the memory of how he'd gotten it, he could almost feel the hot mouth on his skin. He tilted his head to the side to expose the line of his neck, trusting the other hero enough for this. Tony scooted as close he could, inspecting the bite he'd left on the tan flesh. The mark was a dark violet, mostly healed during his little Cap-nap. He reached up and touched the discolored flesh as gently as he could, a little disgusted and aroused.
"Steve" Tony had a hundred different things to say, but all he could do was smile and brush his thumb along the hickey "You...look really good in this shirt. Have I told you that? This color blue suits you."
Steve laughed behind his knuckles, "Stop it."
"I'm serious" Tony leaned in, feeling bold "I'm always serious about how good you look."
Steve gasped when soft lips brushed the bruise, the rasp of his goatee making him tingle.
"Tony" the soldier almost pulled away, goosebumps breaking out on his skin "You don't have to."
"I want to" Tony whispered, brushing another kiss across the sensitive skin "If you just didn't look and smell so good..."
"You're such a flirt" Steve shoved at the brunette, warm breath huffing across his neck in a laugh.
"Why don't we have dinner here tomorrow?" Tony offered, nosing just under the soldier's ear "Whatever you want, just the two of us. We can watch CSI."
"Sounds great" the soldier agreed, breathing in the warm scent of the man's hair where it brushed his cheek "I get you for a whole night?"
"The whole night" Tony pulled back, catching the hopeful blue gaze "Promise."
Without a second thought, Steve threw his arms around his friend. The hug surprised them both. Steve buried his face in the inventor's neck, touch sure and firm. Tony gaped, hands hovering in the air over the soldier for a few moments before he settled them onto the strong back. He couldn't help but return the hug, who could refuse contact with the sweet captain?
"I could never hate you" Steve whispered in his ear "No matter what you do to me...I just can't."
Steve raised his head, they pulled apart just enough to bump foreheads. They were both smiling softly, warm flushes on their faces from the proximity and their racing hearts.
"I'm not my father, you know" Tony assured him, a teasing glimmer in his eye "I can never just stop talking to you."
"You better not" the soldier tisked "I'd be worried if you did."
The humor faded as the heat rose, something akin to static electricity dancing between them. Tony pushed just a little, getting just that bit closer.
Steve was cut off by the man's mouth, slanting across it and stealing his breath. He blushed all the way up to his golden hairline, realizing very quickly he was caught in a kiss. He found himself relaxing into the touch, sighing and tilting his head. Tony's hand laid over his neck, thumb touching just under his jaw. It was a tender touch to accompany the sweet kiss, putting him at ease.
Neither questioned it, enjoying the moment to the fullest. It was like two virgins kissing for the first time by the river, nervous and perfect and wonderful. Their hearts were swelling up in their chests, making each breath more difficult than the last. The pace was slow, simply enjoying the contact, until one of them dared to taste the other.
They pulled away, lips moist and eyes dark with lust and excitement.
"An apology" Tony smiles "For my dad. Everyone deserves a great first kiss."
Steve's smile fell, he quickly looked away. Shame lined the soldier's face, knocking some sense into the other super hero. No, shit, that was the wrong thing to say. They just fixed things and now-
"I didn't mean that" Tony babbled, wincing "No, not like that. I meant...I just meant. Fuck it."
Tony grabbed the blonde's face, stealing another kiss. This was was hot and hard, passion driving it instead of love. Steve moaned against his lips, grabbing the man by the forearms but didn't push him away. Smart teeth raked across full pink lips, coloring them blood red. Tony poured every fantasy, every hope, every drop of lust he had into this kiss. He showed Steve just who he was and what he wanted, refusing to give an inch.
They pulled apart, panting lightly for the breath they had taken from one another.
"That one's from me" Tony brushed their noses in a rare show of affection "Much better, huh?"
"Yeah" Steve was obviously dumbstruck "What are you trying to say here? Cause I'm just..."
Dizzy with lust and lovesick, Steve finished silently.
Tony could feel the ache in outline of his limbs, the weight of the reactor in his chest. He itched to touch it, rub over the hot surface, but resisted.
"Have you ever dated anyone?" Tony inquired suddenly, looking the man straight in the eyes "Your people would've called it 'courting' or 'going steady' or something equally as funny."
"No" the soldier replied "Didn't have time. It didn't help that I didn't find anyone willing. I wasn't popular with the ladies before the serum."
Tony smirked, "Would you like to be?"
Steve sputtered, forcing out a few words of vague protest and confusion. It was cute to see Captain America all flustered. Tony laid a thumb over the full lips, aching to have them on his own again.
"Sleep on it" the brunette urged "I don't want a yes or no, I just want you to think about it. There are worse men than me out there."
Tony shot the blonde a wink, dropping his hand from his mouth in favor of grabbing his hand. He stood and kissed the captain's knuckles, a kind of good-bye mixed with a see-you-later. Steve was ready to protest, but he broke down at the sweet gesture. He nodded and smiled, and in that tired moment he looked like every one of his ninety years.
Tony flashed him one more grin before he left the bedroom, shutting the door after him. He took the walk to the elevator at a slow pace, dread rising with every step.
There, it was done. Steve knew his intentions and he'd given him the tools to start this...relationship? Sure, relationship, yeah. They'd talked and he'd learned way more than he'd ever wanted to know, but he understood Steve so much more now. Why hadn't he made a move before this?
Tony stopped at the elevator, rolling his eyes. Oh, right, because he'd been so sure Steve was in love with his father. Well that had blown up in his face. Maybe Steve still had feelings for Howard, but if that crestfallen look after their first kiss said anything – it said that Steve had wanted to kiss him. Tony Stark. Howard was practically out of the picture.
As long as he didn't screw up as bad as his dad did, he knew he'd be fine. If there was anything Steve was big on it was trust. Howard destroyed it, but Tony swore he never would. At least...if he did, he'd grovel and beg until the super soldier agreed to take him back.
Take him back...that inferred that he'd take him in the first place. He needed to win his heart first, and that would take careful planning and some slick moves.
Tony watched the doors close to Steve's flat, left with his reflection in the doors and the steady glow of his arc reactor.
/Please/ Tony prayed silently, tilting his head back against the wall and touching the edges of the device in his chest /Don't let it be too late. Don't let this be the end./
I hope that was worth the wait, I really poured everything I had into it.
As for the Iron Man 2 rewrite part (I know, chapter 10 will be the start of it, aren't we all excited?), I need a little help. If there's anything paticular you want to see from that movie, message/review me either here or on Tumblr. I seriously have little to no idea how I'm going to do it. Any paticular scene, anything you think would add to the story, anything at all – just throw it my way. Even if it's silly and small, I can work with anything. Sometimes I put your reviews in the word document and keep glancing at them to try and work the ideas into the story. I wasn't planning on re-writing EVERY bit of the movie, so it'll be a fade-in-and-out to include the bits with Steve.
I love your ideas, they're so good. Fanfiction isn't just about one person creating a world, it's about the whole fandom creating beautiful pieces of literature that we can all enjoy and agree with.
So yeah. Hope you liked it and I can't wait to hear from you!
PS: Since this chapter is twice the size of all the other chapters, the next thing I'm going to update is my Doctor Who omega!verse fanfiction. So you have plenty of time to think up all sorts of naughty Steve/Tony things
PSS: The next update should be the on the 14th of this month. I see that some people were giving up on this story or that they're checking every day for updates. I love you guys and I don't want you to worry, I'm not going to stop this fic. I'm just in class right now. So not this weekend but next weekend, I promise