Welcome to the end. I can't believe it's over. Like, why did it have to end? Why does it all have to end. Steve and Tony, their story was so amazing, but they are finally finished telling it and they hope you enjoyed it. There were some rocky areas, but it was an amazing journey and they are glad you took it with them.
Tony sat on his bed, looking at the image before him. The hologram had been reflected around his room for hours and still he couldn't wrap his mind around what he was seeing.
The aftermath of Stane and the attacks on his life had sent him back to Boston for a week to recuperate and hide from the outside world. The week had flown by, all Tony could think about had been getting back to New York, getting back to his investigation. Pepper had pushed him out of New York and taken the hard drive off him at the same time. He hadn't been worried about its safety in her hands so his fight was minimal, helped along by the drugs the doctors had pushed through his system. He was back in New York though, back in his penthouse. Finally able take the time and look at the security footage.
Stane was dead and Happy was his new personal shadow -that was very annoying-. He liked Happy, he did, but the guy was a bit too in your face. A lot had happened in the week after Stane's death. He hadn't expected an easy transition when he took over as CEO, but the death of one of the prominent shareholders had caused a drop in stocks the world hadn't been sure they would bounce back from. Tony's arc reactor was their saving grace, it was still very new, but with the global energy crisis, it was a promising bit of technology that no one else was close to having. He was thankful he had figured the tech out and hidden it away.
Pepper had worked all of that out, gotten his penthouse and his lab back in mostly working order. With the arc reactor, he'd single handedly brought his company back from death, overseen the disposal of every single one of his weapons and for the most part healed from his injuries. But none of that had anything to do with what troubled him, what he was looking at.
"Sir, Ms. Potts is at the door, she is requesting entry." Tony looked at the image before him and sighed. He reached his hand out to touch the image but as Pepper entered, Steve's face vanished.
"You're not even dressed!" Pepper screeched, walking into his closet.
Tony looked up at the angry red head as she walked out holding a suit. He had forgotten about the board meeting. His mind had been so preoccupied by the images of Steve at the Tower, the same night Stane had been killed, that everything had been ignored and forgotten.
He had been analyzing the images, trying to see when Stane showed up, who else was in on the plans, and the explosion itself. He had not expected to come across Steve's image. At first, he had skipped passed the picture, not expecting to see anything. It was time stamped before he had arrived at the Tower so he had written it off as not significant. And it wasn't, not to the investigation anyway, but it was important to him. Steve had shown up at the Tower, he wasn't sure why, but the look on Steve's face, the tears that clung to his eyelashes told Tony something. The image both broke his heart and warmed it at the same time. Steve still cared about him. Maybe still loved him. They'd only been broken up for a few months, it felt like longer. Felt like an eternity had passed. He needed to see Steve again. Ask him why he was at the Tower.
The threat to his life was gone; Stane was dead, the weapons gone. Tony had no reason not see Steve, try and work out everything that had gone wrong. He had been foolish to push Steve away. He should have known that Steve wouldn't be willing to sit in the background and pretend to be friends. That wasn't who he was. Steve had told Tony that he would come out when he had someone to shout to the world about. Tony had thought it was fanciful and a child's dream at the time, but he suddenly understood it.
In the aftermath that was his life, he understood what Steve had been saying. Life was so short; people could be taken from you in an instant. Living in fear, in shame and hiding away wasn't worth it. Tony understood that now. He had an amazing man and he had let that man slip through his fingers all because he was scared. Scared of losing Steve, scared of dying, scared of doing something that would get Steve hurt. Tony had been scared and he had lost Steve anyway. He had wanted to protect the one thing he loved more than anything and in doing that, he had lost him.
Pepper was still holding out the suit, tapping her high-heeled foot on the hardwood, waiting for him to take the clothing and get dressed. Tony looked up at the only person he had left in his life other than Happy and made the choice. He wasn't going to lose Steve. He wasn't going to let the way they ended be the end.
"Sorry, Pep. I got something else to do," He said jumping out of the bed and sliding into the closet. Tony wasn't in the mood to worry about what he looked like, a dark pair of jeans and a Led Zeppelin shirt were found and that was good enough for him.
"Tony, you can't do this. You have to be at the meeting. You're the boss, for gosh sakes. Its time you starting taking responsibility for your company." Pepper said, following him out of the room.
At the elevator, Tony turned to Pepper, "It's not my company Pepper, it was my dad's. I never wanted anything to do with it. You can have it back." He stepped in and watched the shocked look on Pepper's face form as the doors shut. Tony smiled to himself; he could go back to teaching and be happy. He wasn't someone that should be running Stark industries and he never wanted to in the first place. He was fixing his life and he was happy for the first time in a while. The thought of seeing Steve made him giddy with excitement.
Happy stood next to the Town Car waiting for Tony, but Tony waved him off. He would be the one driving to NYU. He was going to do this on his own. He was going to get Steve back, even if he really had to work hard for it. Steve could have moved on already, after all.
Steve stood on the grass, passing the football back to Johnny. They weren't training, but they were having fun. They had been away the last weekend for a game and the coach had given them a day off. It had been a welcome break for Steve but not for Johnny. Steve had somehow found himself still practicing passes even on his day off. He needed new friends, was his conclusion.
He wanted to be annoyed and irritated that he had been dragged out of his dorm, made to practice football, when all he wanted to do was lay in bed and sleep, but he couldn't. Johnny had showed up and dragged him out of his bed. Johnny had made it his mission to not let Steve wallow in his self pity. Every chance Johnny got he would point out some guy he thought Steve would like. He meant well, and Steve just went with it. He was pretty sure Johnny had showed up that morning because he knew what Steve had planned for his day off. Steve had been a bit mopey since he had heard the news about Tony. In the last week, the news had been very silent on the topic and it made Steve nuts. He had been crabby and rude and when he wasn't being mean to his friends, he was sad and depressed.
His friends had been saints, trying to help him through his mood swings, but the only one that could do that was Tony. He had thought about going back to the Tower to check up on Tony, at least maybe get a glance at him. He hadn't been able to bring himself to do it; to go in, see if the code to the privet elevator still worked. Steve had, a few times, when his friends were busy with classes or homework, gone down and stood outside Stark Tower. He had watched the construction crew's work overtime trying to get the living quarters of the Tower up and running. Steve had wondered a few times where Tony was staying while the Tower got fixed, but he hadn't been able to ask.
His friends didn't let him out of their sights all that much, even with Johnny passing the football back and forth, Ben and Johnny's sister were sitting at a table working on some advanced math equations. Bucky was nowhere to be seen, which surprised Steve honestly. Johnny and Bucky had been the ones that had attached themselves to Steve; they had been hard to get rid.
It had annoyed Steve but he was thankful for their willingness to help him through the sadness he was experiencing without asking too many questions. He still hadn't told any of them about Tony. Well, that wasn't true. He'd told Sue, but that had been on accident and only after a few drinks. Sue had promised not to tell and it had actually been a bit of a weight off him. Someone other that Tony and Steve knew about their relationship.
"Hey Steve! You'll never guess who I just saw." Bucky and Sharon both landed in the open seats next to Ben and Sue.
"Who, Bucky?" Steve said, tossing the football to back to Johnny.
"The teacher that used to hate you... Stark!" The return pass from Johnny collided with Steve's head. He had turned at Bucky's words and had forgotten the football was on its way back to him. "What do you suppose that guy's doing here?" Bucky asked.
"Where?" Steve asked. His heart was beating out of his chest. It was his chance to set everything right, to fix what he had made a mess of. He could tell Tony that he was ok living in the shadows, because at least then he would still have Tony. A closet with the man you loved was better than the world without him. Steve knew that now.
"Over by the admin office," Bucky said. "Looked like he was talking to the student liaison, that dick... Do you think he's trying to enrol? Because that guy doesn't have enough in front of his name." Steve didn't answer Bucky. Sue was smiling.
"Go get him Steve." Sue said, and the rest of the group looked at her. Steve started to run. The admin office was all the way across campus, Steve just prayed that Tony would still be there when Steve got there. How much time had elapsed between Bucky seeing him and Steve arriving at the office?
Steve skidded to a stop outside the Administration Office. He wasn't able to get in, there was a crowd around the door. Steve pushed his way slowly through the crowd. It took Steve a minute to find Tony in the sea of students but he recognized the unruly tuft of brown hair and hard jaw line anywhere. The students were crowding him and he was talking to the student liaison, Peter.
"Tony!" Steve shouted, pushing his way through the clusters of students more forcefully than he was before. Tony was so close. Steve's heart was beating out of his chest, he needed to get to Tony. "Tony," he shouted again. Finally, Tony heard him and turned around. A smile on his face. Steve could see Tony looking around, eyes skimming the crowd, looking for the source of his name.
"Steve?" Tony called out, over the heads of the crowd, a look of confusion on his face.
Steve forced his way through the crowd, coming to a stop behind the man he's been searching for, and tapped him on his shoulder. Steve was worried that he wouldn't be received welcomingly by Tony. The way things were left was not something Steve liked to think about.
Tony turned around to see Steve standing in front of him. It had been so long since Tony seen Steve, the last time they had been in the same room, they had both been crying. Tony didn't think, he just did. He wrapped his arms around Steve and pulled the taller man down into a hard kiss.
Tony didn't care that there was a crowd around him, he wasn't willing to hid Steve from the world anymore. Steve wrapped his arms around Tony and pulled him in closer. It felt good to have Steve pressed against him again.
Tony was happy for the first time in over two months. He couldn't help but think, this was home. Steve was everything Tony wanted and he's ever going to let him go. Everything that he had been through in his life, none of it mattered because Steve was the best thing that had ever happened to Tony.
"I missed you." Steve said, placing his hand on Tony's cheek.
"I love you." Tony says, blinking tears away. "I love you so much, Steve. I'm so so sorry. For everything."
Steve laughed and captured Tony's lips in another kiss, this one softer. "I'm sorry too Tony. I love you and I never want to let you go."
Thank you all for reading and reviewing. You're words of encouragement have meant so much to me. I really hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.