I promised an Epilogue for I'm gonna build my boy a boyfriend, and I'll write it today, but I've got A LOT OF STEVE FEELS and I had to put this out there.
I know there's probably a LOT of these steve-meets-peggy stories out there (and by the love of Loki DO NOT LOOK into her canon if you don't already know it, IT BROKE MY HEART), but I really wanted to write one too.
The title of the story and the song in between its parts if By the time, my Mika and Imogen Heap. If you play while you're reading it, it gets better.
Don't wake me up
by Dark K.
Don't wake up, won't wake up, can't wake up,
No, don't wake me up
There are days Steve doesn't truly want to wake up. It isn't that feeling people get from time to time, the one where you just don't feel like leaving your bed, going to work, and moving on – he does not want to wake up from his own nightmares.
They keep him awake for long, long hours during the night, and they are so very terrifying. Bucky falling - over, and over, and over -; his men fighting and dying, again and again. Peggy's voice repeating Steve, Steve, you promised time and again, and he feels so very bad, so very awful, so completely miserable for having failed all of them – but even so, it is the only way he would ever, ever, see or hear or talk to them again.
Even the nightmares are better than the simple and pure knowledge that he is alone.
Not alone as in I'll call someone later, or I'm so annoyed at my family right now, I don't want to talk to anyone – he is alone. He has another frame of mind. He doesn't belong here. Not really. Every time Clint makes a lewd joke that has him stammering because there is a lady in the room, every time Natasha talks about sex as if it is nothing, ever time Stark decides to delight them with a tale from the times when he was single and on the prowl - the others in the team think it's endearing, or funny or just cute the way he blushes or leaves the room completely – they think he's being prude, but it is so much more than that: he just doesn't understand how fast things have moved on.
A few months ago it had been 1942. Women had to fight tooth and nail to be taken seriously, and he knows Peggy's career had probably been a hard one after he had disappeared, for many people accused her of having such an important position because they were together. Time hadn't appeared to have flown by – it truly did. He had slept - just he closed his eyes and felt the ice creeping up on him, and he was alone, and it was dark, and his body shut down – and when he could breathe again, when he felt warm and awake, it was 2011. He had been gone for 69 years, but for him it had been a few minutes, it had been just the time it had taken the ice to make his body shut down to protect itself.
A few torturous minutes, but only minutes nonetheless.
A blink, the impact of the plane on the ground, ice, and you are in the future, Steve, are you going to be okay, Captain?
Yeah, I just had a date.
Sixty nine years ago.
One night, before the Avengers had truly become a reality, and he didn't even know what he was supposed to do with himself, he had gone on a Saturday night, eight o'clock on the dot, to where the Stork Club was supposed to be. It was a small bar now. He went in, feeling uncomfortable with the songs playing in the background, a few men playing at a pool table, women hanging in twos and threes, laughing loudly.
There was no one dancing, it wasn't that kind of club anymore.
That had been the first time he actually felt how incredibly far he was from home.
He went to Brooklyn, recognizing a few streets and places, but it wasn't the same – his home was not a few neighborhoods and streets away. It was 69 years in the past.
He couldn't go back, no matter how hard he tried. It was gone. Vanished.
In the wake of his sleep, he had left everyone he had known and loved behind.
He didn't look through files to find out what had happened to them – he didn't know how. Fury reminded him of Colonel Phillips in a way, and he didn't want to show weakness, asking him about dead people. He wanted to mean something again, do something with his life. There were always bullies, even if there was no war, he could help.
But help could only be given by him in a team, with the other Avengers, and Steve felt – just for a few moments – as if he was in a combined universe from his USO days and his army time.
But nowadays there wasn't truly space for the easy army camaraderie from those days when all his old team could think and talk about was the next target, the next HYDRA facility they were going to destroy – things weren't that simple anymore.
Things just were not simple at all.
He had disliked Tony Stark from the very first moment he saw the man – not really because he was that bad, but because he reminded him so much of Howard, the crazy scientist who was always helping in the war effort. It was unfair for Howard not to be alive, and to leave behind his only son. What kind of person was Tony Stark anyway? Selfish to a fault, and self-centered – and also self-sacrificing, and a hard worker, and someone who believed he could do anything if there was time and resources enough to work with.
It had taken Steve a very long time to get used to saying Stark and not thinking of Howard, but when he did it, he saw Ironman was much more than a good hero, Tony Stark was a good man in his own way.
And yet, he was not Howard. Natasha was not Peggy, and Fury was not Colonel Phillips, and Clint was not Bucky – there was no match. Sometimes, when he couldn't go back to sleep, to his own nightmarish land of reminiscence and fear and love, he tried to replace his old team with the new one, and he just couldn't. They were too different, they were not… his.
Director Fury had said, about the time they had completed their third or fourth successful mission, he was their leader – he knew when and how to call the shots. And when they went back to Avengers Tower, Stark pretending to be upset not to be their leader, and Bruce shyly defending Steve's skills as a leader, he felt like screaming.
He was not their leader, he was not their anything.
He wasn't Captain America full time Avenger. He was Steve Rogers, the kid from Brooklyn, who should have died sixty nine years ago, who should be ninety three years old, regretting his lost time at war, and feeling sorry for himself and his bad knees and back.
He was not supposed to be young and strong and the leader of a team which was made up by people a third his age.
The insomnia keep him awake almost every night, denying him even the comfort of his nightmares, and he wanders the house, lost as ghost that doesn't know it's dead. Stark is awake most of his nights too, and from time to time they cross paths in the huge place, nodding politely, before Stark goes back to his workshop, and Steve sits at some window, drawing with a simple pencil and some paper Coulson has gotten him from SHIELD.
He fights, he saves the city, the country, the planet, he leads them, he fights for them – but he is not theirs.
He doesn't belong.
And they know it.
Stark and Barton get along like a house on fire, and most of the work that has to be done when a week goes by with no missions for them is to keep the two apart, lest they actually burn the tower down. Banner and Romanov get along quietly, in a strange relationship, based on silence and herbal tea. When Coulson moves in to supervise their missions, it takes a few days, but he easily fits in, talking to Barton, nodding to Romanov, putting Banner at ease, bickering with Stark. Stark and Banner can spend huge amounts of time in a lab or another, playing around with transparent screens and materials so expensive a whole country couldn't have afforded it in Steve's time, and now it's just there for the taking.
They get along, and find a rhythm. It shows on battle, when their moves flow around each other, as if they can read each other's thoughts. They are a team, and Steve is their leader.
He's not a part of it, and he misses it. He misses being a part of something. He misses his commandos, he misses the dirty jokes, the lewd remarks, the men breaking into song when one of them started dwelling on the deaths of others.
By the time their seventh mission rolls around, and they come home tired and hurt, dirty and wishing for a bed, Steve sees Natasha calling Tony a baby for his complaints, and Clint swearing up a storm in front of Bruce with barely a twitch from the Other Guy. He sees Coulson almost smile, and they are taking care of each other.
He, however, remains Captain and Rogers.
When Pepper leaves Stark a few days after a particularly bad fight that destroys most of Central Park, Natasha throws away all the alcohol in the house, and Tony bothers Bruce so much he Hulks out – and then proceeds to hug the man in a single hand. Clint is always near Tony those days, and even Coulson brings home shawarma one night, and they all eat it at the kitchen table.
They are friends, and are becoming a family, and Steve can't let go of his past.
He wants that, more than anything, but he still feels as if he is betraying everyone he has ever left behind.
It's his fault, he thinks. And he knows it's insane, because he was not at fault for having to try to kill himself to keep his country safe, but he feels guilty all the same.
Finally, when he simply leaves the kitchen one night, in the middle of dinner, they notice something is wrong.
And it is Tony Stark, Howard's boy, the man he thought so little of when they first met, that decided that Captain America has mopped enough – it's time for Steve Rogers to live a little.
It's the early morn
Lights flick on
Sleepy eyes peek through the blinds at something wrong
Motionless remains the mess
Shame, such a beautiful, beautiful young life
The file slides in his field of vision during breakfast, very early in the morning. Steve simply raises his head and sees Stark looking at him, with his arms crossed.
"I did some digging, it wasn't easy, and it took a lot to hack into some of these files, because they are old as dust, and no one, believe me, no one likes to digitalize old files, but I found her."
Steve Rogers doesn't really need to be told who she is. His eyes widen and he stares at Stark and the file alternately, not knowing what to do with this information.
He had left her behind.
"She's in London, in a nursing home."
Steve's mind shuts down with that, and he truly doesn't know what to do, he hadn't looked her up – never in all his life would he have thought she was still alive, and he hadn't even thought of looking for her.
"I've got a jet ready for you, if you want to go and see her."
He looks at Stark again, confused and troubled and just… not knowing.
"I…" he starts, but Stark just makes an exasperated sound and jerks him up from his chair, pulling him by a hand, in a rough gesture.
"Man up, Capsicle. We are going to go and see your girl, and then you'll be ok, alright?"
He says it with the conviction of a very small child who knows nothing of the world but thinks that it can be fixed, and that's it. Steve follows him out, and it is truly as if he's in a dream.
He's going to see Peggy.
The jet is a Stark Industries jet, and they board alone, just the two of them and the crew, that appears only to serve them some food Steve eats with barely a glance.
He can't just realize they are actually going to London to see Peggy. Peggy Carter, his Peggy.
"Why didn't you do it before?" Stark asks, about half way to London, and Steve looks up to see he's not even looking at him, tapping away on a tablet of some sort.
"I didn't know how. And I didn't want to ask Director Fury for it." He explains in a low voice.
"Yeah, because those were your only options." Stark says, his voice dripping sarcasm, and Steve is immediately defensive.
"I didn't want to…" but he can't finish, because Stark finally puts his screen away and faces him, a little bit of anger and disappointment running through his expression before he manages to smooth it away, and only the sarcasm remains.
"You could have asked for help. From us. Your team. Damn, and Fury was worried I couldn't play in a team."
"It wasn't your problem. And you are not my team." He says, and feels childish for it.
"Oh, really? Last time I checked you were the almighty leader, and we were your team. Who do you think is your team? Because they are dead. I looked them all up."
Steve feels the urge to simply get up and punch Stark, but he doesn't.
He's right. They are dead, and Steve is no longer their leader, why can't he let go?
Because you don't belong here.
And so he doesn't say anything, his jaw tightens, and he is silent the rest of the trip.
When they land in London he half expects Stark to simply leave him there, but the man obviously isn't as childish ad he wants people to believe. A car is waiting for them, and Stark says he'll wait for him on the plane – he has things to do.
The place is an hour drive away, and when Steve sees the sign his throat tightens, and he feels as if he can't breathe.
He takes a long and deep breath, and enters the building – it's white and square, practical and efficient, with a small garden at the back.
At the reception, he asks for Peggy, and the nurse takes a look at him and enquires his name.
"Steve Rogers. To see Peggy… Margaret Carter." He adds, and the nurse types away on her computer, her face opening up in a smile, a few moments later.
"Oh, yes, Mrs. Phillips, née Carter. Right this way." She says with a smile, apparently not having realized Steve state.
Peggy had gotten married.
The nurse opens a door and smiles, announcing a visitor. She soon ushers Steve into the room and closes the door behind him, leaving the two people in the room alone.
There is an old lady sitting by a desk, an open book in her hand, and glasses on the bridge of her nose. Her lips are carefully painted in a light color, and her hair – white and silver – is pulled back in a loose bun on her neck.
Her eyes, deep and brown, are old and aged and they hold a mixture of happiness and sadness, longing and regret, and Steve doesn't know what to do or how to act.
This is not Peggy, his Peggy.
Sixty nine years and he's lost everyone.
"I was beginning to think you would never come to see me." She says, closing the book, and setting it on the desk, turning her full body towards him, "I saw Captain America on the news, we see them day in day out, and I couldn't decide if they had revived the myth or the man himself, and yet, here you are." She completed, looking at once delighted and broken hearted.
"It was the ice." He says, taking a step forward, not knowing what to do with himself. One half smile of an old lady and she was Peggy all over again, and he was foolishly hers, "It slowed down my metabolism, I was in a stasis, it's what they called." He's silent, and she simply stares at him, "Stark calls me Capsicle." He adds, and she smiles again.
"Yes, that boy of Howard's definitely looks like he would call you something like that."
"He was the one who found you. I couldn't… I didn't look. I thought you were all…" he can't bring himself to say it out loud, and she makes an indignant sound.
"You thought I was dead? Rogers, I'm not that easy to kill." She says, and he can only stare, till he thinks the silence has been too long.
There were so many things he wanted to tell her, and he couldn't think of any of them. I'm sorry? Please, forgive me for not being dead? Forgive me for being here, looking like a ghost, while you don't? What could he say to his past now that he had it in front of him?
"You got married." He ends up saying, and it sounds like an accusation. She laughs again, not bitter or regretful, but truly delighted.
"Colonel Phillips's son. He was a brave soldier, we ended up in the same division after the war."
She stares, as if waiting for him to find something to say.
"I…" he wants to say he's glad, he wants to ask if she was happy, but all he can think of is I wish it had been me, "Were you happy?" he decided on asking, and her smile softens.
"I am still happy. We grew old together. We didn't have any children, but we were good company to each other. Our whole lives." She says simply, and he winces, as if he had been physically attacked. They spent their lives together, the whole sixty nine years of it, the sixty nine years he missed.
"I wish I hadn't missed it." He says, his voice is shaken and he takes a deep breath.
Peggy gestures for him to sit on the chair in front of hers, and when he does, she takes one of his hands in both of hers, and gives it a little pat, as old ladies used to do to him when he was young and sickly, and way too small for his age.
Her brown eyes stare into his, and she smiles at him, holding his hand.
"Steve, my life was full. I lived completely. I fought in the war, I got married, I was loved, and I loved. You missed my life, yes, and I, too, wished you hadn't, but don't waste your life regretting the things you lost."
He looks at her and has to wait a few seconds to speak, because he can barely breathe without breaking.
"I just don't feel as if I deserve a second chance." He whispers, and she laughs, startled.
"And where did your first one go, soldier? This is your first chance, Steve. You didn't miss the chance to live your life, you just delayed it a little."
He stares into her eyes and smiles.
"I love you."
She smiles back, patting his hand again.
"Then prove it, by living your life to the fullest. Don't waste your life away, and I'm not talking about all this Captain America business, I'm talking about Steve." She raises her hand, an old lady's hand, and caresses his cheek, while he closes his eyes, raveling in her touch, "Find the right partner for this dance, soldier. I'm way too old for it, but you deserve all the dances you can get."
He smiles at her and gets up, kneeling in front of her in his next move.
"I am so sorry."
She shakes her head, her eyes clouded in tears that she won't let fall until he is away from her and whispers her answer, and he knows she understands his need for forgiveness.
"You are forgiven. Now go and dance."
He kisses her forehead and leaves, knowing he won't be coming back to see Peggy ever again – she doesn't want him to.
He has a life to build, and a place to find.
By the time I'm dreaming
And you've crept out on me sleeping
I'm busy in the blissful unaware
By the time I'm dreaming
And you've crept out on me sleeping
Tell me how am I supposed to care
The car is waiting for him at the door where he had left it, and they make the way back to the jet, where Stark seems to have worked the whole time.
He doesn't ask how things went, he doesn't say a word. He stares at Steve, and he nods. They sit down, and buck their belts, going back to their city, to the Avengers Tower, but Steve knows things will never, ever, be the same again.
Steve stares out the window as the plain takes off and takes a deep breath. And then another. He has some trouble making his lungs work right, they are tight and his throat is closing in on him. He's choking on air, or something very similar. He can't see the clouds, the sun, the way Stark stops typing and looks at him trying to look as if he is not staring.
What he does see is the ice coming closer and closer. SHIELD facility playing the wrong game. The city he grew up in looking nothing like it used to.
He sees Peggy in her uniform, and he can almost imagine her smile in a simple wedding dress, her hair pulled back, her lips a dark red.
He sees his friends and companions going away, dying, one by one, while he was still, frozen in time, in the ice.
He can see a whole life slipping away like this, in his fear of letting go, his guilt for wanting to, his desire not to understand anything new.
He can see Peggy is right – he needs to live, and now, tears falling down his face for the very first time ever since Bucky had died, right now he starts to feel just the tiniest bit free.
Maybe he can actually do this. Maybe he can actually find a place to call home again – without his old friends, but making new ones.
He breaks down completely, and it's not supposed to be all that unexpected. The one psychiatrist SHIELD had sent him to seemed to be expecting something along these lines ever since he had woken up, but he had refused to – not breaking down, not crying, not caring meant he could cling to that empty space inside of him. Not looking for Peggy made it easier to pretend that someday he would find a solution to his being in the wrong time. Not trying to find out what happened to his other friends fueled his belief on the fact that he could lie to himself, and keep on believing he could live alone, ignoring the friends that were there for him.
The family that had slowly but surely being built around him – he just had to reach out and take it.
Slowly, his breathing becomes easier, and he notices he has his head in his hands, his elbows resting on his knees, hiding his face from the rest of the world. Stark pretends nothing is wrong when Steve finally raises his head, his eyes red, his face wet.
Tony offers him a box of tissues and he thanks him with a nod – his voice is not working.
Steve has never seen Stark so still for so long, but they spend the rest of the flight in silence – Steve is staring at the clouds, not seeing them, but thinking back on all the times he had left his own friends down because he had been so stuck in the past.
He wouldn't let this become an issue. It wouldn't happen again.
He had a promise to keep.
By the time the plane lands, Steve is feeling a little less awful, and he is tired and sore. Stark doesn't say anything, either understanding his need for silence, or just because he didn't know how to deal with a man breaking down and coming undone in front of him – it doesn't matter, it's just what Steve needs.
When they arrive back at the Tower, the night is bright and the house is silent.
He turns back to his floor, while Stark seems to intend to go straight to his workshop, to keep on working on whatever he had been working on during the time Steve has been with Peggy.
Before leaving the man to his work, Steve puts a hand on his shoulder, and Stark stares at it, as if he doesn't know what to do with such a gesture.
"Thank you." He manages to choke out, his throat raw and aching, his head pounding from crying so much.
"It's okay." Stark answers, and disappears with his machines and computers.
Steve falls on his bed and closes his eyes, and the tears keep on coming.
He feels as if he is crying his whole past on his pillow, and he lets it all go.
If I had let you go, let you go
Would this be different, different
Now I'll never know never know
I didn't get the chance damn you
If I let had you go, let you go
Would this be different, different
Now I'll never know never know
I didn't get the chance damn you
The next morning, Steve wakes up, and actually wants to get out of bed. He takes a long due shower, and goes to the kitchen, noticing on his way there it's barely six in the morning. He puts the coffee machine to work, and starts looking for things to make some breakfast – he isn't a great cook, but he can hold his own.
By six thirty he has bacon and eggs, some packages of cereal he has found in the cupboards, coffee and boiling water for tea. Bruce is the first to get to the kitchen, and he stares at everything as if he is analyzing a new piece of data in his microscope.
Steve smiles at him and bids him good morning with a smile. The doctor answers in kind and sets about preparing his own tea – and another mug with the same tea, that he leaves on the table. Barely two minutes after this, Natasha shows up, looking just a little less than perfect in the early morning. She, too, raises an eyebrow at Steve's presence, but sits down, and actually eats a bit of the eggs with toast that Steve has going on.
Clint is the next one to show up, barely awake, and walking like one if the zombies from the movies he has seen in passing while crossing the TV room to get to his own room. He goes straight to the coffee pot, gets himself a cup, and only after he downs half of it he looks around and realizes Steve is preparing breakfast as people come in. He accepts a plate with eggs and bacon, and is just starting to dig in when Coulson comes in, pushing Tony in as well.
They both sit down, and Steve sees Stark hide a smile behind his coffee mug when he sees the confused stares his adventure in the kitchen is causing.
He probably didn't tell anyone where they had gone to yesterday, and they don't know there is actually a reason for him to be trying to connect. By cooking.
"This is actually good. I didn't know you could cook, Captain." Hawkeye says, and Steve feels all the worse for it – they are at home and they keep on calling him Captain.
He feels like asking him to call him Steve, but then he realizes he has yet to earn that.
"My mom taught me, when she had the time. When she got sick, after the first war, I took over cooking for us. After she died, Bucky and I pretty much took care of everything ourselves, and I used to cook."
There's silence after he finishes speaking, and he knows it's because he never talks about himself. He takes a deep breath, and puts the last of the eggs he had been making on the table, taking a seat himself. His seat, he notices, is at the head of the table, something he had never thought about, but now he realizes is really strange, since it was Stark's house.
He grabs his coffee mug, just to have something to do with his hands, and looks around the table, where there are a mixture of reactions – some confused, some curious, and some indifferent.
"I'm sorry about the way I have been behaving these past months. I just… had a little trouble letting go of things." The words come out quiet and low, but his voice is firm, and he is a little proud of himself for it.
Bruce actually smiles at him.
"We all had a hard time adjusting to this life. I guess waking up and being thrown in another era would take a lot more than a few sessions with a SHIELD therapist."
Clint laughs out loud, and Coulson smiles. Natasha stares at him for a while longer and finally nods, while Stark pretends not to notice the conversation around him.
He is highly uncomfortable with demonstrations of affection and emotions, and Steve smiles at it.
Things start changing after that morning. He tries to understand the crazy world he's now living in, and Clint shows him the wonders of cable television – anything but the news. Coulson gets him a SHIELD phone, and Stark makes the thing disappear in five minutes, replacing it with a Stark phone, and trying to teach him how to use it, with just a little success. Natasha helps him figure out most of it, when Tony isn't looking.
It's very hard to keep up with someone like Tony.
Bruce likes to play chess and do things that can keep his focus for long periods of time. He doesn't like having time to think about himself, lest he get too distracted and the Other Guy – as he refers to The Hulk – come out and wreak havoc on everything.
Natasha is calm and collected, and it's very hard reading her, but Steve is getting better at it. She and Clint seem to have more than just a professional relationship, and understand each other on a level that Steve can't remember ever seeing. He's not sure if they are lovers or just really good friends – and is pretty much convinced is something in between.
Coulson has a very subtle sense of humor, and for some time, it's with him Steve gets along better – for being older, Phil is actually someone who almost understands Steve's problems with a few basic concepts of culture, but little by little he lets them go too – just like he did with his fears, and his sorrows, and his nightmares.
Tony is, at once, a five year old child and a hundred years old man and he can't seem to decide when to be one or the other. He's funny and sarcastic, and most of his comments towards himself are hurtful and bitter, but Steve learns to read between the lines. Tony has no filter between his mouth and his brain, and most of the time he simply says whatever he is thinking, not even once thinking it can hurt or harm anyone. The media both loves and hates him, sometimes alternately and usually at the same time.
He presents himself as an egotistical and narcissistic man, and then he suits up and saves a bunch of idiots who can't obey an order to actually evacuate to film action on their stupid phones. He is a hero and a child and a genius and an emotionally inept adult, all at once, and at all times.
And Steve knows if it weren't for Tony, he would still be alone and longing for his nightmares instead of discovering the amazing era he is living in, the delights of channel surfing, the amazing world of freedom and a more open minded world.
Between the villains and the fights and their emotional adjustment, the team evolves. Where before they were good, and sometimes amazing, now they are flawless. They get hurt less, they get more results, and they all flow around each other. They know each other, and they are comfortable in their own right.
It's balance and understanding. It's knowing Natasha fights better when Clint is covering her, and that The Hulk is more amiable when Tony is in sight. When Thor gets back from Asgard, he's an easy fit, fighting by himself, and getting better and better at obeying orders from Steve. It gets easier to be carried around by Tony, flying on his boots instead if running all around. It gets easier to understand what doesn't need saying, and it gets easier to let them all in his life again.
Agent Romanov becomes Natasha one night she's suffering from a terrible cold and he makes her a special tea his mother used to do for him to help him sleep, when his asthma was really bad. Hawkeye becomes Clint when Steve surrenders and tries to learn how to operate a video game, and later finds out he's actually good at them, and he's a bad loser. Coulson would always be Coulson, but the agent part of it becomes something they only do when in the presence of strangers.
Doctor Banner becomes Bruce when Steve asks to draw the Hulk one morning.
And he becomes Steve the day he was actually taken to SHIELD's medical area because he was hurt, and the serum took longer than just a few minutes to get him back on his feet.
Tony, however, becomes Tony the day Steve notices how completely in love with Howard's son he is.
And by the time I'm dreaming
And you've crept out on me sleeping
I'm busy in the blissful unaware
It simply hits him one day – how he notices Tony more than anyone else, and how he keeps on thinking why Pepper Potts would break up with Tony, and how amazing he is.
He thinks of Tony in a way he hadn't thought about anyone else before – it's not like he felt with Peggy, who had actually seen him fragile and breakable, and trying to bite more than he could chew in the army. Tony had already known him as the Capsicle, and they went from there, from estranged teammates to tentative friends, and one day, when he can't sleep and starts drawing on the pages of a sketch book Tony had actually brought back from Germany for him, it's Tony he draws over and over, his hands and back and arms. His suit, his arc reactor. His face and his lips.
And Steve loses himself in the knowledge that he actually loves each and every one of his teammates. He would die for any one of them – but he is in love with Tony. With the way the man did great things for everyone but never liked to be thanked. The way he actually acted as if he thought so highly about himself, just to show he actually didn't when he was harder on himself than anyone else in their team or his companies. The way he had built himself together again after having fallen to pieces with his breakup with Pepper.
The way he kept Steve's secret, the real reason he changed his mind, he tried to be a part of the now, and had let the past stay where it belonged.
Tony was the reason Steve had actually accepted to belong here.
Tony was, Steve suddenly understood, staring at those eyes in charcoal on paper, what Steve thought of as home.
He had a place in the world – beside Tony.
He doesn't even know if Tony would ever be interested in him in any way more than the annoying friend who would go down to his workshop just to see him work. He tries to keep him company and keep him fed – jobs that, JARVIS informs him one day, had been Ms. Potts, and now seemed to be his.
He looks and draws, and sometimes he just listens to Tony's ramblings in a technical language that it's just as foreign for Steve as Japanese would be. Their eyes meet from time to time, and Steve can swear there is something there, something more than simple friendship and companionship. But then the moment is undone when Dummy goes by cleaning, or JARVIS announces some new data, or they are battling away aliens and robots and other villains.
And then comes the day when Tony's suit malfunctions due to some sort of ray, and Steve thinks – he actually believes for whole five seconds, that Tony is gone.
It had been five seconds, but that was five seconds too long for Steve, and he realizes how very close he was, every single day, of losing everything again, and he can't bare living with the knowledge that he could have done something this time, and then he didn't.
That night, when everyone is sound asleep in their rooms, exhausted from the fights and debriefings, he goes down to the workshop, where Tony is situated over his suit, a deep frown on his forehead. He sees the failure in the suit as his own personal failure, and he will beat himself up for it until he manages to get it fixed.
And Steve knows he will – eventually, but not tonight.
He marches up to Tony, who notices his approach and pauses in his contemplation, turning to him in annoyance, probably thinking Steve is going to try and get him to bed, as he does now and again.
Steve doesn't pause. He reaches out, and pulls Tony towards him, and takes the man's mouth without a single word exchange. He kisses him deeply, he kisses him as he has never kissed anyone before. He pours his soul in that kiss, and it takes him a few seconds to realize Tony is actually kissing him back – his hands are on Steve's hair, and he is kissing him just as fiercely, as if he, too, was afraid of Steve disappearing.
Tony mumbles something about waiting for Steve to make the first move so he wouldn't freak out, but Steve makes him silent again with another kiss, tongues brushing, and breathing labored.
He wants this man so much it actually hurts.
Tony runs his hands down his back and tugs at the ends of his t-shirt, pulling it up and out, taking his own shirt off after that, throwing them on the floor. The robots are suddenly gone, and JARVIS is quiet, as if they had all gone away, to give them some much needed privacy. Tony can't keep quiet for more than five seconds, and Steve keeps on pulling him back for another kiss, deeper and deeper. Tony's nails dig on his back, running up and down his arms, and he kisses Tony's mouth, and then bites his chin, kissing his shoulders and neck, sucking briefly where he knows there will be a mark, and the thought is a good one, making him smile.
Tony's hands are busy with the flies if their trousers, and Steve breaks away from him, taking off the rest of his clothes hurriedly, just to notice, when he is completely naked in Tony Stark's workshop, that Tony himself is mostly clothed, and his eyes are roaming over Steve's body hungrily.
The man marches up to him and pulls him so close they would need to get into each other skin to get any closer. And then his hands are looking for something in a drawer, and a finger makes its way down Steve's back, and he moans deeply, wanting whatever Tony is able to give him. He groans deeply when Tony starts preparing him, not being able to define what he is feeling – the pain and the discomfort, and it is Tony, and Tony is moaning his name and talking nonsense in his ear, and kissing his neck, and Steve is kissing him back, and biting on his shoulder every time Tony moves his fingers.
With a gentleness Steve didn't even think Tony could ever possess the man turns him around, and he grips a worktable until his knuckles are white, and he takes a deep breath, listening to Tony swearing at his back, barely able to control himself.
And then, finally, after what seems an eternity, Tony takes him, and the world loses its normal focus to become Tony – his fingers on his hips, his mouth on his neck, his hands on his body, touching and caressing, and Steve can't stop the moans and he says Tony's name over and over. With every thrust his thighs hit the table, and there will be bruises on his skin for a while after that, but none of it matters – Tony's voice in his ear, saying dirty words, and telling him to beg for more, Tony telling him he wants Steve too – has wanted him for weeks.
Tony telling him the first person he thought of when his suit failed was Steve.
And that's how he comes, with Tony's hands around him, and Tony biting his neck, with a shout dying on his lips, while Tony still holds onto him for dear life, groaning Steve's name a few seconds later.
None of them move for a few seconds, their breathing altered and fast, and Steve moans lowly when Tony pulls out of him – but his hands are still on Steve's hips. And then his rough hands circle Steve's waist, and pulls him close, and asks him, so very, very quietly, and so very, very desperate, to never leave him.
And Steve promises he won't.
They move through the house between whispers and kisses, managing to get to Tony's room, where they fall asleep, just as exhausted as the rest of his family, arms around each other and legs tangles together in a mess of sheets, hair, sweat and comfort.
The next day, they shower together, touching each other, and Steve is looking into Tony's eyes as he makes him come again, and he can swear he has never seen anything quite as beautiful.
They get to the kitchen together, and Clint is cooking. He looks at them with a smirk when he notices the way Steve's body seems to be attracted to Tony's as if by a magnetic force. Coulson murmurs something about the amount of paperwork he would have to fill out, and Natasha actually smiles – a full out smile, with non-threatening teeth and everything.
Bruce is confused, and Thor needs an actual drawing, offered by Tony himself, to understand what is happening.
They had found each other.
And in the elegant words of Tony, he was banging Captain America, and he was never letting it go.
Steve was truly and completely home.
I'm seriously considering writing a sequel for this, by Tony's POV, because he does a lot in the story (in my head, hehehe).
THE SEQUEL IS UP!
It's called Blissful Unaware, and it can be found on my profile page.
What do you guys think?