Hello all, You may be looking at the screen name thinking, WHO THE FUCK is The Lady J? Its me, Jaspers Dark Angel, I changed my name. I needed a fandom ambiguous name. JDA was just too twilight and I'm not really in that fandom anymore.
This story is a little different then I'm used to writing. I have in my Stony writing, been sticking with the marvel movie verse, but after reading the civil war, death of captain america and captain america reborn, I NEEDED to write this. I needed to give my boys a happy...something. I hope I did the 616 world justice.
Tony sat at his desk, at shield, a bottle of Scotch stood taunting him. The glass next to it lay untouched. It had been years since he had had a drink. Tonight seemed like as good a time as any to break that. Fall off the wagon and give up his sobriety. Only one thing stopped him. The voice in his head telling him it wasn't worth it. The voice sound just like Steve's. The one person, that even in death could be Tony's voice of reason, was also the reason Tony wanted that drink.
One year. It had been one year since he had lost Steve. Well, Tony had lost Steve before he died, but it had been one year since Steve was murdered. It had been the longest year of his life. Perhaps the longest few years. Tony had seen and done some crazy, insane, stupid things.
The Superhuman Registration Act was perhaps one of his stupidest. Oh, he believed wholeheartedly in the registration at the time, but the cost had been too great. Too many lives changed and lost. Too much pain and sorrow and betrayals. The superhero world would never be the same. Their fighting had given away for the bad guys to get the upper hand. Because they couldn't agree to work together, Red Skull had gotten to Sharon. They had killed Steve. Tony had helped bury not only the man he loved, but knowledge of who had killed him. Sharon had suffered enough with knowledge that she had been the one to pull the trigger. Tony hadn't had the heart to tell her about the baby.
So much had gone wrong in his life, but he hadn't had a drink. He hadn't been able to dishonor Steve's memory like that. It had been a hard path to sobriety, one that Steve had held his hand down. He missed the man he loved, but his pain and sorrow were something he deserved.
It was his fault that Steve was dead. It was his fault that the Red Skull had been able to put his horrible plan into action and succeed. It was all his fault, the death of Goliath, Johnny Storm's injuries, the breakup of Sue and Reed. He killed Happy, hurt Pepper and ruined her life. All of it, his fault.
The splitting of super heroes had not been a bad idea, each state could have worked well with a specific set of heroes and the world would have been safe. It had been the registration that had caused the rift. The idea that all who didn't register would be rounded up and sent to the negative zone. Steve had balked at the idea that heroes would be arrested like criminals. Tony hadn't expected Steve to react any other way. He didn't enjoy the idea of arresting his friends and sending them to the one place that could hold them. They hadn't told anyone about the negative zone prison, but Tony knew Steve wouldn't agree with that either. It was why they had kept it a secret. Tony had kept so many things secret, but in the end, Steve had known about them all. Tigress had been found out and he had been fed lies. He should have seen that one coming. Tony was a genius, but Steve's tactical knowledge was unparalleled.
The registration was resisted and the war fought between the heroes had been one of the worst Tony had ever seen. They had, at one point, all been friends. They knew each others strengths and weaknesses. The fight had hurt everyone, broken relationships and hearts. Lives had been destroyed because of the registration and it was Tony's fault.
How had he not learned anything from the X-men? The registration hadn't gone so well for them and yet he had push for it with the rest of the world. He was a fool. He could have gone about things so differently. He could have had Steve on his side. He knew the risks were high. Knew what he would be losing by backing the registration. He accepted the fact that he would lose Steve, that their relationship would be forever changed. He had never stopped to consider what exactly that loss would feel like, just how far that loss would go. He never expected to see the man he loved, dead.
He never stopped to consider what it would be like for everyone else, on both sides of the fight. He should have known that it wouldn't be easy, that the risks and casualties would be too high to measure. He had never expected it to be as bad as it was. Never thought he would have the blood of his friends on his hands. No amount of washing, could remove that stain.
Tony reached for the bottle and poured two fingers worth into the glass. The amber liquid mocked him as it sat in the glass, daring him to take a sip. The problem was, it wouldn't be just one sip, just one glass. If Tony gave in, decided to drown his pain, there would be no coming back from it. The bottom of that bottle would come and he would find himself needing more. Tony knew this, he had seen happen to his friends, felt it happen to himself.
The drink would numb him, make him feel nothing, something Tony so badly wanted. But Tony didn't deserve to be numb. He deserved every ache, every cut, every single stab of guilt that he felt. He deserved it all. He should have been the one in that glass coffin laid out to sea, but instead it had been Steve. The one person that could have and almost did defeat Tony was locked in the arctic, once again for all times. Only, he wasn't coming back this time. He wasn't lost to the world, waiting to be rediscovered, he was just gone.
Tony didn't pull the trigger, but he as good as did. It should have been him. Steve had him dead to rights. He could have ended it, killed Tony and ended everything. Wouldithaveendedanything? Probablynot. Steve had known that Tony's death would solve nothing, and in the end, Steve had been the better man. He was always the better man, putting everyone before himself.
Tony would have followed through with it, he was certain. He would have killed Steve that day, had the tides gone a different way. He was sure of that. The thought plunged the knife deeper into his already shredded heart. Instead, Steve had surrendered. His side had won, the battle was over and the resistance had won, but Steve had surrendered because the cost of winning hadn't been worth it. If only Tony had realized it.
He picked up the glass and swirled the liquid around, imagining the burn of the liquid as it traveled down his throat and settled like a burning lead balloon in his gut. The scotch stayed in the glass as he brought it to his nose, the fumes burned his nose.
Images of the final battle flashed through his head, punches flying, metal hitting flesh as Steve fought back. A blur of red white and blue bouncing off his chest, knocking him back. He had replayed the fight between him and Steve over and over and still the outcome was the same. Steve was gone, he was there and it had all been his fault, would always be his fault.
Sharon pulled the trigger, killed the man they both loved. She had been under the mind control of Faustus and a pawn in the Red Skull's scheme. Tony couldn't claim that he was acting under anyone's but his own diluted ideas and dreams.
The glass went flying across the room and smashed, splashing the liquid against the wall leaving a spot. The bottle followed. The sound of glass smashing was soothing to Tony's fried and torn nerves. Anything within reach was thrown. The award he had received for his role in bring Captain America in was flung as hard as he could at the glass door to his office. The award smashed through the door shattering it. A rage unlike anything Tony had felt in a long time took over. Every feeling; pain, anger sorrow, hate, it all came spilling out of Tony.
Tony stood breathing heavily, his office was wrecked and he couldn't bring himself to care. Papers lay scattered on the floor, the bottle of scotch smashed and staining the carpet. The bookcase was on its side, he didn't even remember knocking it over. Chairs were upended and the coffee table was broken in half. Tony hadn't remembered causing that much destruction. It had felt good to let his rage out, he had kept it bottled up for so long, refused to talk to anyone about any of it.
There was no one to talk to. Happy had been his person for so long, and he was gone. Pepper had abandoned him, though he couldn't blame her. Not after what happened with Happy. No one else that was alive, knew about him and Steve. Bucky and Tony hardly got along, Bucky blamed Tony for Steve's death. He blamed himself so it was hard to convince someone else that he wasn't at fault. Sharon. Well, Sharon and Tony weren't friends, she wasn't someone he would turn to in any type of situation.
He blamed himself for Steve's death, but not half as much as he hated her for being the one to pull the trigger. He knew she was under some mind control. That didn't stop his anger or his hatred for the stupid girl. Just like knowing he didn't pull the trigger, didn't stop him blaming himself. He and Sharon had never really been friends. Tony didn't like sharing with other and he had had to share Steve with Sharon. It was easy to forget her. In order to keep his sanity and his cover, he had needed to forget her. The pregnancy had been a nail in a coffin Tony had eventually expected, but he had nearly lost his mind with jealousy when he found out. He wasn't happy that Sin had caused the loss of the baby, but he wasn't sad either. Tony was an asshole, he knew that already.
Sharon was a reminder of what he could never have. What she had had with Steve, what he had had to keep hidden from everyone. Bucky was... Bucky was a reminder of what he had lost. Bucky in the red, white and blue, carrying the shield, it was everything the world had needed and exactly what Tony had never wanted to see. No one would ever be able to replace Steve, no one should ever wear that uniform. Steve had asked Tony to keep Bucky safe and to not let Captain America die with him. Tony had kept Steve's last request. He had allowed Bucky to take up as Captain America, giving the world a new symbol of hope. At the same time, killing the last bit of life Tony had left.
A picture of Steve lay on the ground, the glass shattered and the frame broken. It had smashed when the bookcase had been toppled. Tony bent to pick of the photo. It was a candid, one that had been captured of him, as Steve Rogers, not Captain America. His head was thrown back in a laugh, his eyes crinkled and shut as he gripped Tony's arm to keep him steady. Tony's arms were crossed over his chest, but he was smiling in the picture. The sound of Steve's laugh was infectious and one he had always loved to hear. A single tear slid down Tony's cheek as he stared at the picture in front of him.
He couldn't bring Steve back, he could never bring him back. That was a knowledge Tony would live with for the rest of his pointless life, but he could set a few things right. Honor Steve in a way the man he loved would be proud of. He had tried to do that with Bucky and with Sharon, in his own way. The repealing of the registration was what he really wanted to do, but he wasn't sure he could. Instead, he allowed the underground heroes to operate unregistered. He gave them orders, unofficially, and they saved the world. No one needed know that Tony was no longer following his own directive. He had plans, ideas on how to get rid of the registration but no true way of getting in and executing them. He needed Steve.
He kept the registered heroes around, trained them, gave them the salary and the benefits they had been promised and sent them off to their designated states. No one need know that he no longer subscribed to his own plan. The war between his friends had shown him he was wrong. Steve accused him of only being out for himself, and he had been right. Tony wasn't going to keep acting like that. He had destroyed so much in his selfishness. It hurt to hear Steve call him that, but he was right. Tony was selfish, had been foolish to think he could solve the issues that were not his to solve. He got in bed with arrogant asshats that wanted to control the world through fear and he allowed them to do it. He supported them and showed the world what he never wanted to show them, his faults.
The sound of crunching glass made Tony turn. A tall figure stood in the doorway. It was dark and Tony couldn't make out the face. The figured stepped over the threshold and Tony held his breath. He knew that stance, that walk, those shoulders. He knew the person that stood before him. Tony didn't believe in ghosts, had seen enough in his lifetime to know that ghosts weren't real, but other things were. Men could come back to life after being frozen in the arctic for 70 years, green people could shape shift and take on the lives of those they take the form of. Yet the person that stood before him, had to be a ghost.
"Its been along time old friend." The smooth voice said as he looked down at the photo in Tony's hand.
"You're not real. You... You can't, be real." Tony said, taking a step back from the man.
A hand reached out and gripped Tony firm, preventing him from moving any further. Notaghost. "I've missed you."
The hand on Tony's arm was firm and warm, Tony couldn't breath. The pain at seeing this man, the man that looked and sounded like Steve, standing in front of him, was killing him. It couldn't be Steve, there was no way Steve could be alive.
"This isn't real," Tony said, looking anywhere but at the fake Steve. Tony was pretty sure he hadn't actually had a drink, but the man before him was making him question his sanity. "I saw your body, you were dead. I saw the holes in your gut, the holes Sharon put there. I watched your body shrivel and shrink. I delivered your eulogy, sealed you in a glass coffin and sent you out to sea. Namor was watching over you. I saw it."
"I was dead, I was. The Red Skull's plan worked. He did kill me, Tony. You're not wrong about that. I'm still trying to understand what happened. All I know is Doom built a machine, the gun Sharon used suspended me in time and space." Tony couldn't think, what Steve was saying, it didn't make sense.
Tony stood in front of Steve, a broken man. Steve had seen Tony wrecked, heartbroken over things before. He had never seen Tony as broken as he was now. So much had changed in the course of the last few years. Steve had seen so much fighting, so much anger and hate. He had felt all of it, much of it aimed at the broken man in front of him. He had loved this man more than he had ever loved any person. The anger and hate he felt had taken over, had been all consuming. He had let it blind him in his fight. He had forgotten why he loved Tony, what they had been to each other.
Steve was angry with Tony, he had had every right to be. The man before him had betrayed him on a level that should be unforgivable, but Steve couldn't stay mad at Tony. He'd never been able to. They had fought, so many times, they had come to blows. It had always been smoothed over, they could always talk it out.
Whatever happened in the year Steve had been dead, changed something within Tony. They had both been foolish to think they would come out on the other end of the war untouched. They had each paid a terrible price for the side they believed in.
He hadn't been back long, but he knew a little of the changes Tony had made. Allowing Bucky to operate as Captain America, assisting in his missions when necessary but never coming out to renounce the registration. Steve could understand Tony's side now. He understood it all. He was still very much against the registration, he would always be, but he could see what Tony was doing, or what Tony had thought he was doing.
Steve wasn't mad, not anymore. he missed his friend, his lover. So much time had been lost for them during their fights, so much hate and pain had grown. Steve had never thought they would be able to come back from it. He had also never expected to feel so much anger and hate for the man he loved, he had been wrong, on both counts.
Relieving his life in fast forward while he was dead, but not dead, had helped him remember things. Remember why he fought for what he fought for, why his friends were who they were and why he loved the man standing before him. Despite everything, Tony Stark was a good man and did the right things. He had some demons, they all did, but Tony had overcome his demons. He had fought them tooth and nail and he had won.
Steve had walked through his life on fast forward, had relived the day he met Tony, the day he fell in love with him and the day he realized he loved Tony. It had opened his eyes to things he had long forgotten. Things he had buried deep inside and a sadness had grabbed hold of him as he watched his love for the man slowly leave. He had forgotten what it meant to be in love with Tony. He had taken it for granted and when war had started, Steve let that love vanish. Hid it and forgot about it. He dehumanized Tony, so that he could achieve his own goals.
"It's me Tony, I swear it." Steve understood why Tony was having a hard time believing him. They had seen so much death, so much loss. They had seen friends bodies taken over and used as bait, enemies had shifted into friends and fooled everyone before. Steve looked down at the photo in Tony's hand. He remembered when it had been taken.
"That was a good day," Steve said, taking the picture from Tony and releasing his arm.
Tony stumbled back, the look of shock and confusing held firmly in place.
"This was taken many years ago," Steve said, his fingers skimming the image before him. "One of the few times that you and I had a chance to get away, on our own." It had never been easy to sneak around behind everyone's back, to pretend to be friends and love someone else, but Tony and he had made it work for years. He had felt bad playing Sharon, but the world hadn't been ready for his and Tony's relationship. They had chosen to keep it secret.
"We stopped this little old couple and asked them to take a picture for us. You were complaining, as per usual. Whining about how you should be in your lab, figuring out how to make camera's self sufficient so we wouldn't have to rely on old people that didn't understand technology. I was pretty sure there was a jab about my age in there somewhere, but the petulant look on your face had me ignoring it." Steve smiled, no one could make him laugh the way Tony could. No one. "I kissed your nose and you wrinkled it at me, it made me laugh. The little old woman taking the picture kept going on and on about how cute we were. It made me laugh harder and even got you to crack a smile."
"Steve?" Tony asked, moving forward for the first time since Steve had shown up. "Is it really? It can't be... Can it?"
Steve moved forward as well, meeting Tony in the middle of his office, ignoring the destroyed furniture that crunched under his feet. "Yes, Tony, its really me."
Tony reached out and ran his fingers up Steve's arm, wrapped them around his neck and pulled him in close. Their chests touched as blue eyes stared down at brown. Warm breath ghosted over Steve's skin. The hand around his neck tightened slighting and pulled him down, his lips crushed into Tony's. He wrapped his arms around him, and pulled him tighter against his body. It had been so long since he had felt Tony against him, so long since he had tasted the man he loved. It was everything he had remembered and more. Tony's face wasn't as clean shaven as Steve was used to, and he liked it.
Tony pulled back from the kiss and stared at Steve, "I'm sorry Steve. I'm so sorry for everything. None of this... It wasn't worth it, Steve. It wasn't worth losing you." Steve pulled Tony back in, hugged him tight and rested his head on the top of Tony's.
"You didn't lose me, Tony. I'm right here, right where I should have been from the start."
Tony shook his head, "It was my fault. Everything was my fault, Steve. I caused all those deaths. I created Thor and allowed him to kill Goliath. Because of the fighting between the heros the Red Skull got to you. Steve, he killed you. Do you have any idea how I feel, its my fault you died."
Steve sighed, "It's our fault Tony. You didn't pull the trigger, Sharon did. Believe me, she's beating herself up for that too. Faustus brainwashed her into believing she loved me." Sharon had explained everything to him, the feelings she had for Steve had been planted by Faustus, they had played on the past relationship, it made it easier to manipulate her. He and Sharon had been over for awhile, the relationship had always been confusing.
So much had gone wrong because they had been too busy fighting each other. "It's over Tony. For now anyway. Red Skull is gone and Von Doom has his hands full. For the first time in a while, the world is calm. Can we just not think about that right now? Its been a long..."
Tony pulled Steve down into another kiss, cutting off his words. Steve smiled in the kiss.
"We can fix it all, Steve." Tony said, pulling back from the kiss, "I have a plan. We can undo the registration. Show the corruption within the government, get the country to agree with you."
Steve smiled, "I like that idea, Tony." He was home, and he wasn't ever going to let Tony go. He didn't think Tony would let him, even if he wanted to. There was a lot to work out, a lot to change, Steve wasn't giving up on getting the registration repealed, but he was sure he could count on Tony's help. Even if it was behind the scenes.
Steve had been happy to be the face of the resistance, but the world still thought he was dead and he was going to keep it that way. Bucky would continue being Captain America, while Steve and Tony cleaned up the mess from the inside. They always worked better as a team, as Cap and Iron Man, than apart.
I really hope this meets with approval of the marvel readers.