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Interlude

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"Tony wants to meet with me."

Natasha looks up, surprised. "Really? What did you say?"

Steve is staring from the window, seemingly lost in thought. "I said yes, of course. Maybe we might manage to talk things out."

Natasha can't help but to chuckle. "Come on, you don't actually believe that, do you?"

Steve turns around, face serious, eyes dark and impenetrable. "No. But I still have to try. It might be my last chance to talk with Tony before..." He doesn't finish the sentence. He doesn't have to. Natasha understands perfectly and for a moment her heart clenches painfully, feeling regret for all what had been and what might have been if things would have happened a little bit differently.

"I know," she says gently, steps to Steve and puts her small hand on his elbow. "Tell him while you still can."

Steve stares into her face, beautiful and sad in his false youth. "What if it doesn't change anything?"

Natasha hugs him. She's not normally very keen about physical proximity but Steve is her good friend and this is the kindest answer she can give him.

It still hurts.

---

"Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth."

Steve is looking at Tony, in his suit, elegant and smart as ever. Except... there are dark circles underneath his eyes and he looks worn, older than before. He's still beautiful, of course, but there's a shadow hanging around him, like a curse. Steve shudders inwardly and tries to suppress this line of thinking.

The air is cold and calming in a way. The sun finds its way through the glass and illuminates Tony's dark eyes. Eyes which are staring at Steve and expecting an answer, any kind of answer.

Maybe except this one.

"Sometimes I want to kiss your perfect mouth."

"See, I..." Tony stops dead in his tracks when he realizes what Steve has just said, "What? I... What?"

Steve feels like he should apologize but is not certain about what exactly. So he shrugs instead and says: "Yeah."

Tony is staring at him like he's grown a second head and Steve knows there's no point in arguing with him when he's like this. It's like he said to Natasha. He doesn't know when (if ever) there will be another chance to talk to Tony without fighting. So he's gonna tell him everything now.

Steve takes few steps towards Tony who in return takes few steps back until he's pressed against the window. Anybody could see them, Steve knows that, but he doesn't care, not in this moment. His thumb gently traces the shape of Tony's lips and the man freezes.

"You're so beautiful. I wish I would have told you before."

"What are you doing?" Tony whispers. He looks dazed, almost like a dreaming man.

Steve smirks. It makes Tony tense even more. "You're the genius, figure it out."

"Rogers..." It's a warning but about what Steve can't really say. He leans forward and kisses Tony.

He never expects Tony to kiss back. Miracles don't happen, not for him at least.

Maybe except this one.

Tony starts returning his kiss. Steve can feel his heart beat in a rapid rhythm. Tony's lips are warm and they taste like ice and fire and pain and wind on his face and...

He opens his eyes, unaware that he's closed them in the first place.

"I'm sorry." He says and steps away from Tony, giving him some space. Tony looks confused and it's so adorable that it makes Steve's heart ache.

"Why?" Tony asks and Steve says the only thing he can think of.

"Because I will always want you by my side."

Tony smiles. It's a sad smile but a genuine one. "Steve..."

"I know," Steve shakes his head. "And I lo... I wish things could be different, you know?"

Tony is silent for so long that Steve starts to think he won't answer. He turns to leave, disappointed, but Tony stops him, his hands find Steve's and his skin tastes like salty water when he kisses Steve again (too short, too brief, too bittersweet) and says:

"I do too."