I really wanted to try a 5+1 so a fews days ago I typed up a small outline and gave a 4K word estimate...*smh*
The outline had this story light, fluffy and sappy, when I finished writing this story, somehow most of my outline had been thrown out.
I'm not even sure what happened. This story took on a life of its own and before I could catch up to it, it had taken off.
I think this is my fav of my stories. I really hope you enjoy it.
BIG thanks to windeetree for Beta'ing so freaking fast! I love you lots for this.
Steve's life was anything but normal, so why would the way he met the man of his dreams be any different. Steve, had a good job, one he liked very much, even if it didn't pay all that well and had forced him to get roommates, but still he loved it, and he had grown to love his roommates. Natasha and Clint shared a room; they were kind of a package deal, which was ok, because Steve really liked both Clint and Natasha. However, Natasha scared him slightly. She had a way of sneaking up on people and then vanishing when you turned around for a second. He also secretly believed that she could kill him with her pinky, if he gave her a reason. So he had long ago decided not to get on her bad side.
Clint was nice, though. He was a little crass and loved to play jokes on people. Steve had been the butt of Clint's jokes for a while, but they suddenly stopped when Clint's Katniss Everdeen "action figure" cough doll cough, had been held hostage after the art deco fiasco. Steve had not taken kindly to his drawing table being transformed into a table of tacky broken tiles and mortar and then told it was modern art. It was shit and Katniss had been his hostage until Clint had purchased Steve a new table.
Clint then had decided that if Steve couldn't be the butt of the jokes, Thor would be. For the most part, it was harmless fun and Thor, was good-natured and typically laughed it off. Thor's boyfriend on the other hand, was not so good-natured. A particularly bad prank, involving green food coloring and body wash, had left Bruce with a slightly green tint to his pale skin, and had resulted in Clint hiding in terror under his bed. While Steve had felt bad for Bruce, but he couldn't help but laugh. Clint was a little more careful after that.
His apartment felt often times like a frat house. You would have never have known that the majority of the occupants were in their late 20s early 30s. Steve was the oldest of the group at 31 and Thor the youngest at 28. But it still marveled him, just how child like they all were most days.
Steve had expected to have a wife and kids by the time he was in his 30s and he had come close to having that dream, but, it hadn't worked out and while every now and then, it made him sad. He had enough crazy in his life to keep the lonely thoughts at bay.
His roommates kept him on his toes and he liked that. The main problem with his roommates was that every now and then, they brought home strays. Darcy, had been his favorite and she still came by every now and again, but most of the time she was off with Thor's brother, Loki. Loki was a whole other bag of cats that Steve wasn't too fond of. He liked Darcy, but her taste in men was shit. Loki was a jerk and he treated her as if she should bow down to him. It pissed Steve off, he typically was able to hold his tongue, but after a particularly bad night -which had resulted in Darcy snuggled into Steve's chest crying her eyes out- he had gone off on Loki. Darcy only came to the apartment if Loki wasn't around.
But he liked his life, he liked his friends and he really liked writing for S.H.I.E.L.D entertainment. Steve really had no complaints about life, at least none that he was willing to give a voice to. Except perhaps the strays. He got sick of finding random people sleeping on his couch in the mornings, but he had long since gotten used to it. Which was why when he woke up and found yet another slumbering figure on the couch, he ignored them.
He made coffee and sat at his drawing board sketching out his latest comic book. He didn't publish or anything, he wasn't good enough for that, but he still loved to draw them. Most of the time, the stories involved the antics of his roommates.
He had been sitting at his board for three hours before Thor, came wandering in, the figure on the couch still had not moved.
"Still out cold, is he?" Thor asked, looking mildly concerned.
"Friend of yours?" Steve asked absentmindedly, not looking up from his drawing.
"Nope, no idea who he is. I found him passed out on the stairs." This actually made Steve stop and look up.
"And you what? Just decided he looked like a nice guy and brought him home? Jesus Thor, this guy could be a serial killer, or a fugitive, and you just decide to let him into our lives?" Steve knew his anger was a bit irrational but he couldn't help it. Friends from college, passed out drunk on the couch was one thing, but a random guy found passed out in a stairway, totally different. The man moved slightly at Steve's raised voice and the throw blanket that covered his face slid down. The man was a few years younger than Steve from the look, his goatee was neat and his face showed the hit of five o'clock shadow. His dark brown hair stuck up in all directions. Steve has no problem admitting that the man is nice looking.
"Sorry," Thor mumbles and ok, now Steve felt like a dick.
"Sorry, Thor. I shouldn't have lost my cool like that. From now on though, can we refrain from picking up stray drunk people in stairways?" Thor nods.
"Oh thank fuck, I need coffee." Natasha had at some point soundlessly glided into the kitchen, her slight Russian accent, a bit stronger when she was tired, her voice startled Steve and made him to jump. Her giggle sent chills of fear down Steve's spine.
"A bit jumpy today, are we cupcake?" Her voice was dripping with saccharin as she poured her coffee and went to sit on the loveseat in the living room.
"Umm, why is Tony Stark sleeping on our couch?"
"Who's Tony Stark?" Steve asked putting in pencil down and looking at Natasha.
"Who is Tony Stark? You're fucking kidding me right?" Steve just shrugged his shoulders. His roommates knew he wasn't very up to date with current events and stuff like that. Hell, he only watched TV when Clint was in the living room and had it on while Steve was working.
"Steven, surely you must know who Tony Stark is, even I know who he is." Thor said.
"Says the guy who just told me he didn't know who the past out drunk on our couch was." Steve rolled his eyes, he couldn't help it.
"Well, I know who he is, not what he looks like." Steve snorted, Thor was a strange fellow.
"Tony Stark is only the richest man in America, and your boss." Steve made a face and looked up at Natasha again.
"Nick's my boss; I don't know a Tony Stark." Natasha huffed and crossed her arms.
"Tony Stark, owns S.H.I. Entertainment, and like three quarters of New York. Why is he here?"
"Thor found him, brought him home like a lost puppy." Steve said, pointing his pencil at the tall blond, that stood unapologetically, clutching his coffee. He simply shrugged.
"I could hardly allow him to sleep on the stairs and get trampled. Mrs. 3b probably would have had a heart attack. You know how she gets." Pinching the bridge of his nose, to alleviate the sudden headache, his roommates and this Tony Stark were giving him, he simply nodded, he did know how she got. He really should know better than to ask such complex questions of his roommates this early in the morning.
"Well, I'm off," Nat said, "Clint and I will be out of town for two weeks for work. See ya when we get back." Steve still didn't know what Clint and her did for a living, and really he didn't think he wanted to. He simply waved as she picked up her duffle and walked out. Thor clapped him on the back and left the go get ready for work.
That left Steve with the drunk guy that hadn't moved in a while. Maybe he was dead, Steve thought idly, but as the front door slammed, (thanks Thor for saying goodbye), the man on the couch grunted, turned slightly and slumbered on.
Three hours passed before Steve remember the man on the couch existed.
The grunts and groans from the couch, cause Steve to put down him work. He had finished the comic and had been working on an actual press release for a new computer game that was set to come out in the next few months. Vampires vs Zombies 5. It was completely pointless and totally fun to play and even if the vampires had an unfair advantage, he liked rooting for the zombies.
Steve got up, poured a glass of water and grabbed some advil from the cupboard and slowly set it down on the table in front of the man.
"Who are you?" He said, his voice gravelly and dry.
"Steve Rogers, this is my place. Who are you?" Steve said, crossing his arms, trying to look every bit the scary ex soldier he was.
"You don't know who I am?" The incredulity dripped from Tony's voice.
"Well, Sort of, but only because my roommate told me, honestly, it really didn't mean anything. I still don't know who you are."
"Why am I here? Last thing I remember was being on my way home, from a rather dull charity event, in Manhattan."
"Well, you're in Brooklyn and you're on my couch, because one of my roommates likes to bring home strays. Drink the water and take the Advil, I can only imagine the headache you have."
Tony slumped over, rested his arm across his knees. He was dressed in a suit of some kind, but only the pants and shirt remained, the jacket and tie had probably been shucked at some point in Tony's night of drinking. The dark blue pants and maroon shirt, were expensive looking even if they were wrinkled. The man, for being hung-over and sleeping on a total stranger's couch, looked incredibly well put together. He was handsome; Steve had no trouble admitting that. He hadn't so much as looked at another guy since Bucky, but it had been five years, Steve could allow his eyes to wander. Tony grabbed the glass of water while Steve went to make more coffee.
"Do you drink coffee?"
"Only with my air." Tony said and Steve poured him a cup.
"I'm sorry, I really don't understand how I ended up on your couch." Tony asked finally after he had finished his coffee and made sure it stayed down.
"Uhh, I'm not really sure either. My roommate Thor said he found you passed out in the stairwell."
"Your roommate, is a Norse God?"
This made Steve laugh. Thor's parents were a bit, um, unconventional, to say the least.
"I don't even know what to say to that," Tony was saying, "I was rescued from a stairwell by a Norse god and dumped on his couch. Man, I really need to cut down on my drinking."
"Well, it's my couch, Thor just rents the room, but he stays at his boyfriends most of the time."
"Who's his boyfriend? Loki?"
"No, that's his brother."
"I was joking."
"I wasn't." Tony laughed
"I have to get out of here. This can't be real." Tony dug into his pocket, pulled out his cell phone and pushed call. Steve gathered Tony's water glass and both their mugs of coffee and headed into the kitchen.
"Pep, can you send Happy to pick me up? No, I'm in Brooklyn. No, I'm not really sure how I got here. The building looks familiar. I think, I think I'm at that apartment building, I own. Yeah, heights or something." Steve's eyes went wide, Tony Stark owned the building? Well, Nat had said he owned most of New York.
"Pep, you can lecture me when I get back to the tower and have had a shower. Please just have Happy come get me. Thanks Pep. Yup, love ya too."
Steve walked back out of the kitchen, to find Tony standing awkwardly looking around. His apartment was modest but nice he thought. The furniture matched and the place was clean, though perhaps to Tony Stark, richest man in America, it didn't look all that nice.
"So uh...Thanks, What was your name again? So I know who to thank for letting me crash on your couch and for the coffee." Tony said as he slowly back up to the front door.
"Steve, Steve Rogers." Tony's eyes widened slightly, but Steve ignored it, mostly because he couldn't understand why his name would have that effect on anyone.
"My driver is on his way, so I'm just going to wait for him, down stairs." Steve was staring at him with an odd look on his face. Tony was acting very strange, though having only just met the man, Steve wasn't sure if he should classify it as strange. For all he knew, it could be normal for Tony.
"Oh yeah sure, no problem. Nice meeting you Tony."
"Yeah, You too Steve." Tony was out the door and down the stairs as if his life depended on it. very strange indeed.
The week following Tony's stay on Steve's couch was a peaceful one. Clint and Natasha were on assignment, Thor was usually at Bruce's and Steve found that he enjoyed the peace very much.
He had finished all of his work with in the first two days of his roommates being gone and had finally found time to go to central park to draw. He was in a very calm peaceful place. The only problem with not having his roommates around was that he had time to think. Lots of time to think, and while normally thinking was a good thing, all he seemed to be able to think about was Tony Stark. He literally knew nothing about that man, and while he felt sure he could find info on him on the internet, he didn't really want to know what the public thought of the man. The trouble was, he wanted to get to know the real Tony Stark.
He wanted to know why the richest man in America, was sleeping on his couch, he wanted to know the reasons for his strange behavior before he left, and he wanted to know what made the man tick, but perhaps the scariest thing was that Steve wanted to know what was under the suit.
He had just finished climbing the stairs, lost in yet another thought about Tony, when he tripped over something in the hallway. To keep from landing in his face, he had to drop the groceries he was holding. The eggs smashed and the milk burst and Steve swore loudly as he spun around to see what had been left in the hallway. To his great and utter shock, it was Tony. Passed out, well as least it looked like he had been, before Steve's rather ungraceful entrance.
"What the hell are you doing on the floor?" Steve asked, shocked.
"S'nobody home," Tony slurred, pointing at the door his body was covering and looked up. "Steve?" Tony asked, confusion laced his voice.
"Yes, Tony. You, are blocking my door."
"Oh," was all he said, as he tried to stand and promptly failed. Tony fell sideways, and Steve caught him with little effort. His ruffled hair, tickled Steve's neck and Steve couldn't help but notice the strong smell of apples and alcohol. Holding tony tight to him, Steve slid his key in the lock and turned it. The lock clicked, Steve pushed the door open and half carried half-dragged Tony over the couch. Once Tony was situated as best as Steve could get him, he went back out to the hall and cleaned up the mess.
He had honestly never expected to see Tony again. A billionaire had no reason to be slumming it with the likes of Steve and his friends. He didn't know why Tony had ended up on the stairs and conversely his couch the first time, but the second time had clearly been deliberate. Why, why was Tony waiting at his door, why was he drunk again and who was he looking for. If Steve was being honest with himself, he wanted to be the reason Tony was there. But of course he knew he wasn't, but for the life of him he could not understand why a billionaire from Manhattan was back in Brooklyn. Though, Steve supposed, it didn't really matter. It wasn't like it changed the fact that he was there. Whatever reason Tony had for being there, would remain his. Steve wasn't about to press the issue.
Once he's finished cleaning the mess he had made in the hall Steve went inside. Tony was passed out on the couch Face smooshed against the arm, the poor guy's neck was going to hurt in the morning. It wasn't terribly late but as Tony was taking up his living room Steve decided an early night would be ok. Before retiring for the night though, he pulled the comforter from his bed and wrapped it around his stray. Tony sighed a little and snuggled deeply into the comforter. A glass of water and two Advil were left on the couch with a note.
The morning came and found the note, water and meds all still on the table and the occupant of the couch in much the same state as Steve had left him. The only real difference was that Tony was now mumbling and tossing lightly in his sleep. "I'm sorry," is the only sentence Steve could understand, but he doesn't dwell on it. It wasn't his place. He has no claim to Tony and thus had no right to inquire.
A groan from the couch alerted Steve to Tony's return to consciousness. He poured two cups of coffee and moved to set one down in front of Tony.
"We gotta stop meeting like this princess." He said as the cup landed on the table. Tony simply groaned.
"Wanna explain why, once again, I'm on your couch with a hangover?" Steve moved to the other end of the couch, lifted Tony's legs sat down and replaced Tony's legs in his lap.
"Tripped over you trying to get into my apartment. You were blocking my door. Care to explain why you were drunk at my door?" Steve asked, not expecting an answer. Instead of an answer, Tony grabbed the coffee and sat up a little higher, legs still resting on Steve.
"Been a hell of a week?" Tony said, after a few pulls of coffee. It sounded more like a question, as if Tony was wondering if that was a good enough reason to be sitting outside the door of some guy, he didn't really know's apartment. Steve shook his head.
"I do own this building you know, so it's perfectly legal to find me here." Tony's words were flat, in a different tone, they could have been taken as defensive, but they sounded almost dead to Steve.
"Why do you own this building?" Steve couldn't help but want to know the answer to this question. It was a something he had thought about over the previous week. What on earth could a guy like Tony Stark possibly want with a rundown little apartment building in Brooklyn, when he lived in Manhattan, not upper east side, but right smack in the heart of NYC. Tony was rich, had lavish buildings and homes, why a tiny building with rent controlled tenants? Brooklyn Heights was not as rundown as some of the buildings around, but it wasn't exactly the nicest either.
Tony didn't answer, he just stared into his cup of coffee. Steve didn't press the matter, if Tony wanted to talk about whatever was bothering him, because it was clear to Steve, something was bothering him, he would wait Tony out. Get the poor guy to open up eventually. It was one thing Steve was good at. But Instead, they sat in silence, drinking their coffee and staring at nothing.
"I should probably call Pepper," Tony said suddenly, breaking the silence. "Have her send Happy by to pick me up." A Tightness settled in Steve's chest. He could not for the life of him think of a reason for Tony to stay, but didn't want him to leave.
"Oh," was all he could say. Before he could ask anything, Tony was on the phone to the woman, Pepper, and asking that some person named Happy pick him up. What kind of a name was Happy anyway? That wasn't a name, that was an emotion, Steve thought, somewhat bitterly. He wasn't sure why but he was jealous of Pepper and this Happy person, he didn't even know Tony. He couldn't understand why he was so worked up over his friends. But he was jealous that they knew Tony, interacted with him on a daily basis, got to see him whenever they wanted. Steve was sure, once again, that once Tony walked out the door, he would never see the man again, the thought made his chest ache.
Tony was up off the couch, before Steve had finished his thoughts. "Thanks again for the couch, Steve. You're a peach." Tony held out his hand and Steve shook it. The hand was warm and calloused, not at all the way a hand from a pampered billionaire would be expected to feel and it made Steve want to know even more badly, what made the man tick. What he did in his spare time, why a man of his status would ever want to or need to use his hands in such a way as to create rough dry skin.
"Uh, yeah no problem," Steve fumbled, "Any time." Tony smiled, a genuine smile that lit up his whole face, not the fake smiles he'd seen in pictures of the man, when he had finally caved and googled him. The swelling in Steve's chest was back, but Tony turned and left and the swelling turned into a sinking feeling. Steve was left on the couch slightly hollow and worn.
His roommates were back, well Clint and Nat were. He suspected that Thor was going to be moving out soon. He hadn't seen the guy since the first time he had found Tony on his couch.
Two weeks. It had been two weeks since he had accidentally met an amazing man. Tan skin, dark almost black hair, piercing hazel eyes, a strong jaw line and a voice like smooth velvet. For the better part of two weeks Steve Rogers had ignored the comic he so often worked on, instead, he found himself drawing one solitary person. Not all of that person, sometimes, it was just his eyes, other times just his hands. His jaw line, the goatee, the arch of an upper lip, the bridge of a nose. The images plagued him and he drew. Steve drew so much that his collection of pencils had dwindled to almost nothing, and he had been forced into Manhattan to purchase more. He was very specific about the type of pencil he used and only one store in the state carried them.
His trip to Manhattan had been difficult. He didn't much care for the city to begin with, but the billboards with Tony's face plastered everywhere, did not help to alleviate Steve's sudden obsession with the billionaire.
He had gotten in and out of Manhattan as fast as was humanly possible for someone on a motorcycle, which thankfully was quicker than for someone in a car. He has seen Stark Tower from his bike, and he had wondered idly, if Tony was up there, he didn't really know what Tony did, he'd never really had a conversation other than, "Hey you were drunk and that's why you're on my couch." Steve really didn't understand what was fueling his obsession. Sure Tony Stark was sex on legs and there was no question that Steve needed to get laid, like right the fuck now, but when he thought about Tony, he didn't obsess on what activities in the bedroom would be like. Yeah sure, if Steve was being honest, he had definitely thought about it, but more than that, he had thought about what it would be like to wake up next to the brunette the next day, to cuddle on the couch and watch bad reality TV. Steve wanted a life with the man, not a romp in the sheets and a walk of shame the next morning. He hadn't tied himself to anyone since Peggy and the only man he had ever been attracted to had been Bucky.
Both of which had been a sore subject. Peggy had moved on with Victor, when Steve wasn't able to give her a life she deserved. He held no ill will toward her; he had understood why she had left him. It didn't, however, change the fact that it was still an open wound.
Bucky however, was not just an open wound, it was festering, infected and painful. Bucky had been his best friend, no more than that. But Steve had loved him, perhaps more than he had loved Peggy. He would have given his life for Bucky. Bucky had died five years ago, on a skiing trip. A trip he had gone on after Steve had told him about his feelings for the man. He had known Bucky had a boyfriend at the time, but something told him, Bucky needed to know how Steve felt. The ski trip had been planned for months, and the night Bucky left, Steve felt compelled to confess his love. Three days later, Bucky had fallen from a ski lift. His body was never found. The anniversary of Bucky's death was coming and Steve had purposely removed all the alcohol from the apartment in preparation for that day. It was a day Steve always took off, refused to leave his room and instead snuggled under the blankets and pretended the world outside didn't exist. It was his dark day. A day, no one would interrupt because if they did, they would find out just how mean Steve could be.
But he still had a week and though he thought about Bucky, his mind of late was plagued more with thoughts of Tony. It hurt to think about what could have been with Bucky, the small kiss Bucky had given him just before getting on the plane had held a promise, one that had kept Steve from moving on. Five years was a long time to hold the dead to an unspoken promise.
The trip back to the apartment had been silent and reflective. As Steve reached his door, he had found in himself a new resolve. He was done pinning for Bucky. No matter the what happened with Tony, Steve was done letting a ghost and a handful of memories run his life. He would find love again, be it with Tony or someone else.
Steve opened the door to his apartment after having passed the small potted plant that he had placed outside of Bucky's mothers door (even if she had long since joined her son in the afterlife) in remembrance. However, upon entrance, Steve had a fleeting wish that his life could be normal. Clint in all his badass glory was sitting on the couch, soft white wings strapped to his back. His chest bare and the black leather pants he wore were unbuttoned. Clint simply shrugged.
"Laundry day," was all he said by way of an explanation. That could maybe pass as to why he was shirtless, the response told him nothing as to the wings or the leather. Upon reflection, Steve decided he didn't want to know. He deposited the pencils on his drawing table, save for one and went into his room.
His room was not fancy, by any means. A soft queen size bed sat against the wall on a simple metal frame, the back of the wall was used as his headboard. His furniture was what his mother had referred to as early garage sale, nothing matched but nothing was in such bad condition that it looked to have been plucked from a dumpster.
His linens were the only thing that Steve had really taken an effort to plan out and make nice. He enjoyed the more luxurious fabrics and while he couldn't afford much, what he did have was high enough thread count that even the great Tony Stark wouldn't wrinkle his nose. The linen was simple in colors, red and tan with a small amount of blue mixed into the duvet. His walls were covered in his art. He loved his room. Steve toed off his shoes and fell into the bed. He was exhausted and felt like he could sleep for days.
The problem with going to sleep at three in the afternoon was that Steve found himself wide-awake at 2am. No one in his apartment was awake and he didn't much feel like turning the TV on and accidentally waking Clint or worse, Natasha. Instead, Clint's earlier words of laundry echoed in his head. Steve had a basket in need of cleaning so he grabbed his book of sketches and clothes and made his way down to the basement. Pausing once again by the potted plant. He stood for a long second head bowed. The words "I miss you Bucky," falling from his mouth. The tears however, didn't come and for that, Steve was grateful for.
A loud crash from behind caused Steve to turn around. His building was full of older people, being rent controlled, most people never left. It was one of the only reasons he was still there. He and Bucky had both grown up in Brooklyn Heights. The apartment he lived in had been his and his mothers. When she had passed on, he had taken over the apartment. 2am was an unusual time for anyone in his building to be awake,
A man dressed in dark jeans and a simple black wife beater was slumped over. He couldn't see the man's face, but something told him he knew who it was. He put his hand on the man's back, just to let him know someone was there. Intense hazel eyes met his.
"What are you doing here Tony?" The words were perhaps harsher than he meant them to be. He had never shared his pain over Bucky with anyone. His roommates didn't even know about him, and he had no intention of telling Tony, a guy he hardly knew about the guy that he had loved more than anything in the world.
"Came to pay my respects." Tony murmured, flecks of amber liquid spilled out of the bottle he was holding as he waved his hand at the tree. Steve scoffed, he couldn't help it. Why would Tony be paying respects to a man he didn't even know.
"I miss him. I miss him so much it hurts Steve. But I'm sure you understand that." Steve could not for the life of him comprehend what Tony is saying. Tony could not possibly have known Bucky.
"What?" Steve's brain shut off, nothing else mattered, he needed to know what Tony was talking about.
"I was supposed to go on that ski trip with him, did you know?" Tony shook his head, "Of course you didn't know." Tony's voice was small and sad, his eyes, glassy from unshed tears. Steve's laundry basket hit the floor, the sound echoed through the deadly silent halls. Steve's feet found purchase on the floor and he backed up, desperately needing to get away from the conversation. His back hit the wall, and he was trapped.
How could Tony possibly know Bucky? What did Steve know about Tony anyway? He was smart, genius status, he remembered reading that. His parents died when he was 17, a few years after he had entered MIT...Steve gasped in shock. Bucky had gone to MIT, he has been a whiz with computers. Steve had gone into the army while Bucky went off to an expensive college on a scholarship.
"We broke up, a week before the trip. We had had a fight, about you." Tony's eyes locked onto Steve's holding him in place. Steve could feel himself loosing the ability to stand. "I knew who you were the minute you told me your name. I'm not shocked you didn't know who I was. I wasn't out as bi back then." Steve's legs gave out and he slid down the wall to the floor. Tony Stark had been...
"He loved you. Did you know that? I think he was scared to admit it, because of what you guys were to each other, but he did." A small tear slid down Tony's cheek, "For a long time, I hated you. You held a part of him that try, as I might, could never have. I understand now, why he loved you. I'm sorry."
"I'll just go. I'm sure you hate me, now that you know the truth. Really, you have every right to hate me, blame me for his death. It's ok, really. I already do. What's one more person to add to the list?" Tony turned and tipping his head back, drained the rest of the bottle he held in his hand in one long pull, before walking away.
"I don't hate you." Steve said quietly as Tony left. The slight pause in Tony's movements told Steve he had heard him, but he didn't turn back and Steve didn't go after him. Steve didn't move from the spot his legs had given out at, for some time.
Steve stepped out into the cold, early morning air. The sun was just coming up and the dew was glistening from the leaves. It had been a while since he had found time to go for a run, he supposed he could have made time, but in all honesty, a jog on a cold December day hadn't held much appeal. After the shocking confessions of the night before, Steve found that he needed to clear his head.
The run was smooth and exactly what he needed. He didn't hate Tony. Not by a long shot. It hurt to think about Bucky, to finally meet the guy that had held Bucky's heart for so long, but Steve could see why Bucky had falling for Tony. If Steve was being honest, he was in the process of falling for the same guy. How was that for irony? Steve was falling for the guy that had kept Bucky from him.
His internal struggle wasn't cleared away by the run, but his body was exhausted once again and he was ready to go back to bed. December was a hard month for Steve. With the holidays and no family, it sucked, but with Bucky's death a few days before Christmas, Steve saw no joy in the season. He never celebrated it anymore. Gave almost no thought to the fact that people all over the country were hanging stockings and decorating trees. In his apartment there was no sign that a holiday loomed. His roommates thankfully had been more than ok not decorating or even celebrating the holidays.
Steve's legs pounded the well-known path back to his apartment. He had cut through a small park on the way, not really paying much attention to the path itself, mostly because of how often he had traversed it in his youth. A movement caught his eye as he rounded the corner, which caused him to still in his run. He wasn't very far from home, less than a block. The groan that came from the bush beside him had him surge forward.
He really wanted a normal life, with normal friends, perhaps even a regularly normal love life. However, whichever deity had been in charge of Steve's life had clearly fancied his or herself a joker. Tony crawled out from the bushes, skin pale, lips slightly blue. Dressed only in the jeans and wife beater Steve had seen him in just a few hours earlier.
"Oh god," he said as he reach the man. Tony was shivering, his eyes wild with confusion. "Come on Tony, let's get you warmed up." Steve removed the thin windbreaker he had been wearing over his tee shirt and wrapped Tony in it, before picking the man up bridal style and heading to his apartment. Tony was in no shape to walk up the five flights of stairs to Steve's door and while Steve was strong, he didn't think his legs could hold them both up for five flights after the run he had had. The elevator was a better option and it got them to the couch faster. It took Steve no time to deposit Tony on the couch and run to his room. He stripped the bed of all the linens, grabbed an extra pair of sweatpants and large army sweatshirt along with a towel from the bathroom.
Steve's roommates had already left if the lukewarm cup of coffee that sat on the table in the living room was something to go by. Steve wasted no time in stripping Tony of his wet jeans and flimsy shirt, trying hard not to break the chain that hung around Tony's neck as it got caught on the shirt, and redressed him in the sweats.
Steve wrapped Tony in the comforter from his bed along with the few throw blankets Clint had stashed throughout the living room. Pulling Tony flush against his body, Steve laid down back pressed against the couch, Tony's back pressed against Steve's chest. The smaller man shook in Steve's arms as Steve whispered words of comfort.
Tony wasn't the only one that needed comfort after the night they had had. Steve's emotions were raw, like a Band-Aid had been torn from his flesh too fast. The death of Bucky had been something he had been so good at compartmentalizing, in the past he had been able to hide it away, not feel the pain, pretend that he didn't let the death run his life, but since he had met Tony, he had begun to realize how very wrong he was.
The memory of a hope, forgotten promises, fueled Steve's life and kept him from really living. It had been five years since Bucky had died and in that time, Steve had not had a single relationship. Had not allowed himself to taint what could have been with what is and never dared to consider that the way he was living was exactly what Bucky wouldn't want for him. He had loved Bucky, yes, and perhaps Bucky had loved him. Tony had said as much. But it didn't change the fact that Bucky was gone. He would not see him again, for a very long time. He needed to stop living in the past and start living for himself.
Exhaustion took him faster than he was expecting. He had been comfortable laying on the couch pressed up against Tony. He missed the weight of someone else sleeping next to him. When he woke, he was uncomfortably warm and he had just enough time to remember why he was so warm when the person pressed against him spoke.
"Oh god, not again. I really gotta stop drinking." Tony's voice was muffled against Steve's arm and the movement of Tony's head caused his hair to tickle Steve's nose, which made him move. The movement alerted Tony to not only his presence, but that fact that he was awake. Steve release Tony from his grip and allowed him to sit up.
Tony's movements were slow and cautious, and Steve followed them. When they were both sitting up, Steve looked at the man next to him. Tony's head was in his hands, elbows resting on sweat pant covered knees. He didn't really know what to say to the man beside him and it looked like Tony was having the same issues. There was one thing Steve did need to say, and it took all his strength to open his mouth.
"I don't hate you." A prickle of heat struck Steve in his eyes and his vision swam. "I don't blame you. I never did, even before I knew who you were. I never blamed anyone for what happened to him."
Tony stood suddenly and moved to the door. "I'm sorry Steve, for everything." The front door clicked shut and Steve's heart dropped. He was sure that would be the last time he ever saw Tony again. For the first time in years, Steve let himself cry.
The days pass slowly; the anniversary of Bucky's death come ever closer and Steve found himself dreading the day and growing increasingly more agitated with what had happened with Tony. Even Natasha gave him wide berth in the kitchen the days following Tony's sudden disappearance. He had no reason to be mopey, Tony shouldn't mean anything to Steve but he did. He hardly knew the guy and yet when he wasn't thinking about Bucky, he was thinking about Tony and more often than not, he was thinking about both of them.
Somehow, fate had dropped the one guy-other than Bucky- that Steve could see loving for the rest of his life, in his lap. But Fate was a cruel trickster, that one guy had walked out of his life three days previous and Steve didn't for one second believe he would come back. Not after everything, they had been through. It was truly amazing how much they had been through in the four meetings they had had. How could two lives be so intertwined with each other without even knowing it?
But Steve needed not to dwell, sitting around his apartment wasn't helping. Clint was hounding him to talk about whatever had gotten into him and while he really appreciated it, Clint was the last person he was going to talk about his sudden, "the guy I think I'm in love with use to date my dead best friend, whom I was also in love with, but it doesn't matter because, I won't ever see him again," angst. There really was no point in talking about it. What was done was done and Steve would move on. He could join a dating site and see how things play out but he would do that after the New Year.
To take his mind off everything that was going on in his life he had decided to go into work. It had been awhile since he had set foot in S.H.I.E.L.D and he probably needed to catch up with Nick and Phil, while trying desperately to avoid Hill. The woman was slightly touched in the head. He frequently found himself needing to be rescued from her. She always managed to get in him pressed against a wall or corner. It creeped him out the way she was always around. She was one of the reasons he was rarely in the office. He didn't actually need to visit the office, he was a freelance entertainment writer and hardly had need to write at a desk. He could and would write wherever he fancied. But every few weeks he felt the need to put in an appearance, mostly to let his boss know that he was still alive and to clear his desk of clutter that had always accumulated in his absence.
He sat at his desk for a few hours, going through emails and voicemails, the tedium of the tasks a welcome distraction from the feelings and maudlin thoughts that had plagued his head. It was mindless and boring but at least he hadn't had the time to think about a dark haired billionaire.
It was late when he finished up at S.H.I.E.L.D, He had thought he was the last one there but he had been wrong, as he had suddenly found himself pressed against a wall, his laptop clutched against his chest and Maria Hill wrapped around him. The woman made him uncomfortable. He was not in any way attracted to the wretched woman. She was mean and spiteful. She spied on everyone and when someone did something she didn't like she would run to Nick and tell on them. She had gotten more than one person fired and Steve found her to be revolting.
"Ah, Maria, I really need to be going." Steve said, trying to move. He could probably get around her, but he didn't want to hurt her, physically. Steve may not have liked the woman but he was still a gentleman.
"Oh Steve, I've missed you. Why have you been gone so long?"
"Uhh?" Steve faltered; the woman was bat shit crazy. Words failed him; he truly had no way of responding to her.
Maria turned away from Steve for a brief second when a light flicked on behind her, allowing Steve to sidestep her grasp. Who ever had suddenly showed up, Steve owed a debt of gratitude to.
"Steve? Steve are you here?" Maria spun on her heels to glare at Steve.
"In here Nat!" Steve shouted, ignoring the death glare he received from the woman in front of him.
"Oh thank goodness you're ok Stevie; I was so worried when you didn't show up for our date." Natasha appeared in the doorway, a beautiful green floor length dress clung to her figure. Her red hair hung in ringlets, she was stunning and the glint in her eye added to the show. He had never been happier to see her in his life. He moved to stand next to her.
"Yeah, sorry about that. I meant to call, but I got stuck dealing with a few things." He said, not missing a beat. Natasha was there to rescue him and he was going to make it believable. She wrapped her tiny arms around him and pulled herself flush to his body, the small kiss she planted on his lips only added to the show. Steve smiled slightly looking over Natasha's shoulder and into Maria's eyes.
"Sorry Maria, but I must be going. Don't want to keep my girl waiting any longer than I already have." Steve and Natasha left as fast as they could, not bothering to turn around, mostly out of fear. Maria looked ready to kill.
"Oh my god! Natasha, thank you so much." Steve said mounting his bike. She shrugged and hopped on the back.
"Clint sent me, He knew you had issues with that woman and when you didn't come home at the normal time...He worries." Steve couldn't help the smile on his face as the bike roared to life.
The ride home was quick and smooth. The icy wind whipped at Steve's face, he always felt so alive on his bike. A pretty woman pressed against him (no matter how deadly) reminded him of how much he missed physical contact.
The apartment was loud and warm, Thor's booming laughter hit Steve's ear as he stepped out of the elevator. Natasha just smiled.
"Thor's back and he brought Bruce." Steve hadn't been feeling very social but before he could take his leave the apartment erupts in a cacophony of sounds. Laughter the most prominent but there is a voice above the others that stood out and made Steve pause in his retreat. He was around the corner where no one could see him.
"Hey, sorry to just stop by but..."
"Dude, you've been stopping by randomly ever since Thor found you on the stairs. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were looking for a certain blond someone. But that can't be can it?" Clint's voice is slightly accusatory.
"The tabloids have you shaking up with that pretty red head assistant of yours so I know you aren't slumming it here, trying to get into Steve's pants."
"It won't work anyway; no one gets into Steve's pants without getting into his heart first." Natasha voice is harsh, but honest.
"Look, Pepper and I aren't together, never have been, never will be. And, I'm not looking to get into Steve's pants as you so crassly put it, though, I won't deny that they idea is appealing. Steve is... I would like to get to know him better, but I'm not so sure he wants that. I just came to return some clothing he let me borrow, after my last drunken escapade." There was a rustle of fabric, Steve guessed it was Tony handing one of them the clothing and then the door was clicking shut. Steve was getting tired of that sound in connection with Tony.
Before he could register what was happening Steve was out the door, his feet moving of their own accord. Jumping flights of stairs, and attempting to not knock over Mrs. 3b in the process. Tony pulled the door open as Steve hit the landing at the bottom of the stairs.
"Tony!" Steve shouted, pushing to his feet and racing out the door after the brunette. Steve calling his name must have stopped him because Tony turned around just as Steve burst through the doors.
"Steve?" Tony asked confused and before Steve could stop and think about what he is was doing, his lips were pressed against Tony's desperate to let the man know exactly what he felt and hoping like hell that Tony felt even a little bit the same. Tony's lips were soft and warm, and Steve could not believe he had given into an impulse like that. It was something he never did. Well not never, but the last time he had kissed someone on impulse, it had been Bucky.
When that realization crashed down on him, Steve pulled back, but was stopped by a firm hand fisted in his shirt. Tony pulled hard crashing his lips against Steve's once again. With a deep sigh, Steve opened his mouth to allow Tony entrance. There was no hint of alcohol on Tony's breath, he just tasted like coffee. The kiss didn't last long, but it was enough for Steve.
"I want to get to know you too." He said and rested his forehead against Tony's breathing hard in the cold night, the mixture of the kiss and his run down the stairs had left him slightly winded. Tony just smiled and opened his mouth to say something when his phone started going off.
"Miss Potts, you have got to have the worst timing of any woman, I have ever known." Tony held up a finger and mouthed, "We aren't done." Then turned around to talk to Miss Potts.
"Pep, I get it ok. You're sick of me disappearing. No, I swear I won't do it again. Yes. Okay. I'll do that. I told Jarvis where I was. Pepper, I'm not five, I can..." Tony paused in his whine as a black limo pulled up to the curb that Steve and Tony were standing on.
"Yeah, Happy just pulled up. Okay Pepper, I'm hanging up now, I'll see you soon." Tony stuffed the phone in his pocket.
"I'm sorry Steve, I have a conference call with China in an hour, and Pepper is demanding I actually show up. Can we continue this later?" Steve could only nod, his throat was tight, and the emotions he had been keeping at bay for so long threatened to escape if he spoke. Tony placed a small kiss on Steve's lips and slipped away into the night.
It was December 23rd and rather than spend the holidays with loved ones, mostly because Tony didn't have any, he was sitting at his desk, all alone in Stark Tower. He didn't mind, He never cared for the holidays and December 23rd was a dark day for Tony Stark. One that he had dreaded every year.
Every year on the 24th, he would start trying to figure out a way in which to skip the 23rd, and every year, the ludicrous plans he came up with (a time machine, one that could jump a day or maybe go back five years to stop Bucky from going on that trip) failed to even make it off the drawing board. He was a genius, he knew time travel was impossible, but that didn't stop him from dreaming.
This year had been particularly bad. It was the five year anniversary, and Tony was having a hard time handling it. He was supposed to go with Bucky on the trip but they had broken up, because of Steve Rogers, Bucky's way too good to be true best friend. He hadn't met the guy but the way Bucky talked about him, drove a knife into Tony's battered heart every time. He had met Bucky when he was 15, just starting out at MIT, they were in the same graduating class though Bucky was 3 years older. They had hit it off well and their friendship had formed easily. They hadn't started dating till Tony was 17, right before his parents had died. If Tony hadn't have had Bucky during that time, Tony didn't know what he would have done. Still, Bucky had been unwilling to cross the age line before he turned 17 and Tony had respected it, even if he had been annoyed by it.
They had started dating their junior year at MIT and Tony couldn't have asked for a better boyfriend. It never bothered Bucky that Tony wasn't out. He had accepted that Tony was well known and had a reputation to uphold and a company to keep afloat. He had never pressured Tony into announcing their relationship and had even kept Tony's identity from his friends and family.
It had pained him to constantly hear about Steve and not be able to meet the guy. Steve had been overseas the majority of Tony and Bucky's relationship but it didn't stop the two friends from remaining in contact and growing closer, even with seas separating them or when Steve's long time girlfriend had left him for someone else. Steve had gotten out of the Army shortly after that. Tony could remember the fight like it was yesterday.
Bucky begging Tony to meet Steve, telling him that he would love Steve, that they would hit it off great. Tony had scoffed at the idea, Tony knew how Bucky felt about Steve, he was a genius after all. He could see the glint in Bucky's eyes when he talked about the man, the way his whole face split into a smile when he would get an email from the soldier overseas. Tony wasn't stupid, he could see his and Bucky's time coming to an end, if Steve came back in the picture and Tony had tried to hold that off. But the week before the ski trip, everything fell apart.
Tony had yelled at Bucky, accusing him of having an emotional affair with Steve, and Bucky to his credit had remained calm as he told Tony to fuck off. He had packed his bags, handed Tony the key to THEIR apartment, and told him he was done. He never wanted to see him again. In a deadly calm voice, Bucky had taken the knife that had been engraved with Steve's name and plunged it further into Tony's heart, making sure to twist it as the hilt hit flesh. Six years of his life walked out that door that night, and all Tony could do was fall to his knees and sob.
He had found out about Bucky's death on the news a week and a half later and had found himself at the bottom of a bottle. For the better part of the first two years after Bucky's death, Tony was rarely sober. After a near death experience by way of alcohol poisoning, Tony had stopped his drinking, except in the month of December. That was his get drunk but try not to die doing it month. The alcohol blotted out the pain of his mistakes, the hangover reminded him that he deserved every one of those pains.
He was the reason Bucky was on that ski trip. He had been the one to plan it, it had been intended as a romantic getaway. He had even planned to propose, even if a gay couple couldn't marry at the time. He still had the ring he had bought too. He wore it around his neck as a reminder. Instead, he had sent Bucky both of their tickets and told him to enjoy the trip, on him. It was his Christmas gift, and together or not, he still deserved it. Yes, it was Tony's fault that Bucky was on that lift when it had broken. It was Tony's fault that both he had Steve had lost Bucky. There were days when Tony wanted nothing more than to join Bucky in the afterlife, but he was scared of dying. Scared of what he would be giving up.
In the years after Bucky's death, he had rarely given Steve Rogers a thought. Until the morning when he had woken up on a strange man's couch. In his alcohol-induced haze, he had not caught the man's name when he had first said it. The few things that had registered in Tony's head in the first few moments of wakefulness had been, the pounding headache he had and the Adonis like giant standing over him holding the glass of water and Advil. Also that he needed coffee and that Mr. Tall Blond and Sexy had offered him some. When he asked the man's name again, Tony had felt awkward and worried that the man whose couch he had crashed on, would know him for who he was in relation to Bucky. Because as soon as he heard the name, he had made the connection.
Steve and Bucky had grown up together. Had been neighbors as kids and Tony had bought the complex shortly after Bucky's death, wanting to be able to take care of his mother and make sure that the building remained rent controlled. He had not considered that Steve Rogers would still live there too. For perhaps the first time in his life, Tony had felt stupid for not checking the tenant's roster. He had left as fast as he could, without being too weird, though he wasn't entirely sure he had succeeded.
A week later he had decided to go see Steve again, to tell him who he was, confess that it was his fault that Bucky was dead, he had planned to tell Steve everything. He had just needed a little bit of liquid courage. What he had not planned on, was finding himself once again hung over on Steve's couch with Steve sitting next to him. Big blue eyes searching his hazel ones for answers to unspoken questions. It had felt like Steve was looking right through him and it was unnerving. Bucky's words about hitting it off with Steve had rung through his head so many times that week he had started to wonder if the ghost of long dead boyfriends was haunting him.
The truth was, Tony did like Steve, could, even in their second meeting see the possibilities. And perhaps that scared him more than anything. This was a man he had hated for years, even before Bucky's passing. He had known about Steve Rogers for the better part of 14 years and he had hated him for at least 11 of them. All of the sudden he couldn't find it in him to hate a man that would take in a stray and treat him with kindness. Steve hadn't known who Tony Stark was, hadn't expected anything in return for his hospitality and yet twice he had shown Tony compassion and had taken care of him in his time of need. Steve was one of a kind, he was good for the sake of being good, he had know that just from the stories Bucky used to tell. But to finally witness and be on the receiving end of the man's goodness, left Tony's heart fluttering in a way it hadn't in many years.
Their third encounter had been when Tony had expected everything to fall apart. He hadn't intended to tell Steve what he told him. He wasn't drunk enough for it, but seeing Steve stop by the tree outside of the apartment that had been Bucky's mom's, that sat vacant because Tony refused to rent it to anyone, had stirred something in Tony and in trying to stay away, he had accidentally fallen over, which had alerted Steve to his presence. Steve's whispered words broke Tony's heart. He was hurting just as bad as Tony, but he was doing a better job of hiding it from the world. Steve was better than Tony, in every way, and Tony was ok with that. He wanted this man in his life, but he knew that with the secrets he had, he could never have him.
He had decided to get it over with, rip off the Band-Aid and walk away for good. Put Bucky's memory to rest and move on with his life. Surely, he could do that after five years of sorrow. He had expected Steve to hate him, throw things at him, shout at him, and hit him, something. What he had not expected was for Steve to tell him that he didn't hate him.
Tony was ill prepared for the type of person Steve was and he had needed more alcohol. The problem was that he was also improperly dressed for a late December night and he found himself falling down drunk, in a park, not too far away from the apartments he had just left. He could have walked back, knocked on Steve's door, begged for a couch to sleep on, he had no problem believing that Steve would welcome him in and allow him to drunkenly pass out. But Tony couldn't do it. He had caused the man so much pain already. He wouldn't do it anymore. So Tony kept drinking, mostly to stay warm. The alcohol heated his skin and kept him from feeling the bite of winter. The problem with that theory was that somehow he found himself back on Steve's couch, and not just that but in different clothing and snuggled up against the very firm very sculpted body of the owner of said couch. Steve's small confession was enough to make Tony move. He couldn't stand being around someone so good when he himself had been the cause of so much pain. All the I'm sorries in the world couldn't change just how much he hurt the man that had four times over again taken him in, saved him from the cold New York morning and even given him warm clothing.
Their fifth encounter had perhaps been the most shocking. The one that he had never in his life expected. He had simply stopped by to drop off the clothing that Steve had let him use. He had wanted to walk away clean, no remembrance of Steve for him to dwell on. A simple blip in Tony's questionable past. He had heaved a great sigh of relief that he had not seen Steve at the door or anywhere in the small living room.
The clothing was returned and small talk was exchanged between him and a rather crass man and a scary red head and that was that, except that it wasn't. Steve had chased after him, he had clearly been in the apartment, somewhere, Tony hadn't been able to see. Steve had kissed him, the way he had longed to be kissed by him, since the moment he woke up that first meeting. The second kiss was his doing though, a way of telling Steve that he wanted it to, because he could feel the fear and self doubt bleed through the last part of the kiss Steve had initiated. Tony's cell had rung just before he could tell Steve how he felt, and he could have killed Pepper and not felt guilty about it. Not in the slightest.
And so it was over 36 hours since he had told Steve that they would continue whatever the hell it was they had start and still he had yet to call him.
He was having his dark day. Not a single one of his people understood Tony's dark day, but maybe Steve would. Tony jumped to his feet and moved as fast as he could out of the building. He suddenly knew exactly where he needed to be.
Knocking on the door to apartment 5d was odd. The last time he had done it, he felt like it was the final nail in the coffin of Tony Stark. He had known that walking away from Steve would take the little bit of his soul he still had and grind it into a pulp. Ash to be scattered across the battlefield of Tony's heart.
But it wasn't the final nail. And the door was open and the redhead from the previous night was staring at him.
"Steve's not taking visitors, come back tomorrow." She stated, her voice held no emotions as she made to slam the door. Tony's hand flew out to stop the door from shutting.
"Where is he?" He asked, panic dripped from his voice. The red head cocked an eyebrow and to Tony's relief, pointed down the hall, to the closed door. Tony pushed passed the scary woman and ran down the hall, not bothering to knock, just threw the door open, The man he had been looking for sat straight up, his body wrapped in a blanket, normally perfect hair, mussed and sticking up in every direction. Blue eyes, red rimmed and cheeks tear stained. Tony was unprepared for the sight. He had thought Steve handled it better than him, perhaps he was wrong.
Steve shifted in his bed, pulling the covers over, without thinking, Tony toed off his shoes and climbed in. The tears came before he could stop them. Wrapped up in Steve's strong arms, they both collapsed back on the bed and buried deep into the plush linens. Tony nestled into Steve's chest.
"I miss him so much Steve," Tony said, his voice wrecked from crying. Steve's strong arms held Tony tighter.
"Me too Tony, me too."
The rest of the dark day was spent talking about Bucky. Steve telling Tony Stories from their youth and Tony telling Steve stories from college. The laughter that filtered from the room was pleasant and welcome on a day of so much sorrow. Tony told Steve about his plans for the ski trip and talked about the break up and Steve fessed up to the kiss. A kiss he had planted on Bucky, just before he left, not know that Bucky and his boyfriend had broken up. The news that Bucky had not told anyone about the break up, even a week later, shocked Tony. The rest of the day passed with no more tears of sorrow, a few tears from laughing too hard and many chaste kisses from the pair.
When December 24th dawned, Tony woke up with a lightness in his chest, something he hadn't felt in many years and his first thought wasn't "How can I make sure December 23rd never comes again?" It was...
"I could get used to waking up next to you every day." Steve smiled a blinding smile and for a second Tony was horrified that he actually said that aloud but the kiss Steve gave him, erased the horror, and a spark of hope warmed his belly.
When everyone was home, they all liked to sit around the kitchen table together. Coffee in hand while Steve made waffles. Tony finally gets to know Steve's roommates and their significant others. He liked Steve's friend, Bruce especially. He had heard of Dr. Banner, but had never had the pleasure of meeting him. Just one more thing, having Steve in his life had given him.
For the first time in five years, Tony was happy, the smile on his face wasn't fake or forced in anyway. He felt hope and the blond man that Bucky had swore he would get along great with, was the reason. If the smile on Steve's face was any indication, Tony would say, Steve was feeling the same way.
Laughter filled the room as the friends settled into eat, Tony couldn't help but lean over and place a kiss on Steve's cheek. "Thank you, for letting me borrow your couch."
Steve smiles and kisses Tony soundly on the lips.
"So, are you two, a thing now?" Clint asked
"We are, if Tony wants us to be." Steve said simply, tucking into his waffles.
"He does," Tony couldn't help but look at Steve as he said it and they both smiled.
"Gay!" Clint muttered. The loud thwack of the spoon connecting with Clint's head made everyone laugh. Natasha looked unapologetic as Clint pouted and rubbed the small welt that had started blossoming on his head.
"Steve deserves to be happy. Maybe Tony can save him from Maria next time. So I don't ever have to do it again." The slight shiver from the deadly woman worried Tony. He didn't know who Maria was, but judging by Steve's and Natasha's reactions, she wasn't someone they liked all that much.
"Well, considering Tony owns S.H.I.E.L.D, he could just fire her." Tony was going to have to look into this Maria person, but if she was causing Steve issues, he could almost bet that he would have her fired. No one was going to mess with his boy.
"So Cap," Thor asks, "Can we start celebrating Christmas again?" That was the first time Tony had heard Thor speak, he was shocked by the Australian accent. It wasn't an accent he was expecting from someone named Thor.
The rest of the roommates joined in with their agreed desire to celebrate and Steve looked shocked. "I didn't know that it bothered you so much." He said his voice sad and quiet.
"It doesn't bother us as much as whatever happened in your life to make you hate it so much." Natasha said. It took Tony a minute to figure out what she meant and then he understood. Steve didn't celebrate Christmas, for the same reason he didn't...Bucky.
"We just want to see you happy, Cap." Clint says
"I am happy," Steve says looking at Tony. "Yeah, we can celebrate Christmas."
The rest of the day was spent in a scramble, fighting crowds, buying a tree and decorating a small apartment that Tony had come to love more than his penthouse in Stark Tower. Lights hung, the tree was decorated in whatever they could find and the stockings were tacked up next to the fireplace. There were no gifts, that was the one stipulation and Tony was ok with that. His gift came in the way of a tall blond and his friends.
For the first time in Five years, Tony felt like celebrating. He felt love and he knew it was because of Steve. In just one month, he had fallen in love with Steve Rogers. He hadn't even fallen for Bucky that fast. He wasn't ready to tell Steve how deeply he felt, it was too soon, but he would. He would not let Steve slip through his fingers, not after Bucky had brought them together.
I really hope you liked this story. I would love to hear what you thought.