The particular bar doesn't really matter. The bar they had once frequented closed down decades ago, or so he expects. As long as it has the same feeling, he doesn't mind. It's all about the spirit of things, that's what this entire thing is about. It's not really just a thing he does anymore, and really, it never was that. It's a ritual. It's a memorial. It's a eulogy.
It could be anything: wine, beer, vodka, gin, they're all the same. They burn going down and taste like shit most of the time, and all of them do absolutely nothing for him. It's no big loss, ultimately, he can't imagine many people who would have turned up their noses at superhuman strength because of this particular side effect. It's not about getting drunk, anyway. It's about thinking, remembering. Coincidentally, two things that become a lot more difficult as inebriation increases. In a way, the entire set up is perfect. Two whiskeys, up, in old fashioned glasses at some all american bar where everybody knows everyone else, except him. Just the way he likes it.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
It was far from the kind of bar where you would expect to find Tony Stark, and Steve himself is thinking just that when he turns around in his stool. But lo and behold, it is the man himself, teetering slightly as he stands, looking at him over the top of expensive sunglasses. Who even wears sunglasses in a bar?
"I could ask you the same thing," Steve replies plainly, turning around in his seat, hoping to continue his night uninterrupted. Of course, where Tony is involved, nothing can really continue uninterrupted. Before he has the chance to say anything else the billionaire has plopped himself down beside him, and Steve has to shoo him away from the second whiskey, first nonchalantly, then firmly.
A ritual is an established way of doing something, and it doesn't change. This is change, and he's not all that happy about it.
"Save yourself the money and drink water."
Steve scowls at his glass of whiskey, before inclining his head to scowl at Tony.
"Don't you have somewhere else to be?"
He can almost get sort of used to Tony's invasive, intrusive, abrasive self (almost), but not right now. Right now he wants nothing more than for Stark to be where he belongs, in the middle of a party at some expensive club, with expensive drinks and expensive people. This sort of place isn't for Tony, it's for him. Him and Bucky.
When Tony makes another grab for the second whiskey, it's all he can do not to sock the man into next tuesday. Tony can press his buttons without even trying, without even knowing that he's doing it. Steve twitches in restraint, his fingers flexing irritably against his own glass.
"What, can't afford your own?" He spits it through clenched teeth, moving the second glass to his other side to put that problem to rest. Tony sways on his stool, shrugs, and waves over the bartender and ordering a whiskey, up, in an old fashioned glass. Steve is infuriated, and the only place that burns more than his throat are his eyes. Tony downs the drink without saying another word, and the two of them sit in an uneasy silence. It's uneasy for Steve, anyway, by now he suspects Tony's too out of it know one way or the other. Was it so much to ask for one night of peace for him and his memories? Apparently, yes. Still, an uneasy silence is better than nothing, and Steve is almost hopeful that it will stay that way. Of course, hoping for that means that Tony instantly has to open his mouth.
"Take me home."
Steve looks at the clock, just past midnight.
"Don't you pay someone to do that?"
Tony's brows furrow together, as though maybe he's wondering if he does. And he certainly does have someone that he pays to do that, several someones even.
"Take me home." He tries again, stressing the last word as though Steve is supposed to be able to take some other message from it.
"Call a cab," He mutters against his drink.
"So you're as dense as you are gorgeous," Tony says suddenly, startling Steve and knocking him almost completely out of the tense, angry state he had once been in. Almost.
"Excuse me?" There's no way he had heard correctly. If there was one thing Tony was known for (though there were many) it was for his status as a womanizer. Women, not men. Now what was he doing, flirting with him? Trying to pick him up? Or just being a dick? It easily could have been all three.
"You heard me," Tony shrugs nonchalantly, staring forlornly into his empty glass.
"You're drunk," It's a quick dodge, because the last thing he wants to think about is Tony Stark, or Tony's apparent attraction to him. (And definitely not any attraction of his own.)
"That's nothing new."
Steve doesn't say anything. He may be a little out of the... fondue loop, but even he knows what drunk hook ups mean. Nothing. They mean nothing to anyone, and certainly not to Tony Stark. Besides, something about it seems vaguely unfair, the kind of advantage he doesn't like to have. When he comes to blows with Tony they stand on equal ground, and the same should apply here, too. It has to be tempting, having Tony Stark say he wants you to take him home and that you're gorgeous all in the same (more or less) breath, but on this at least Steve is resolute.
This time when he turns away, Steve is intent on ignoring him for the rest of the evening, come hell or high water. Surprisingly, he doesn't even have to try very hard, because ten or so minutes later Tony stumbles away, and at last Steve can continue his night in peace. It's just about one in the morning when Steve finally reaches for the second whiskey, the one that's been left untouched all night while he throws back drink after pointless drink, and downs it in one smooth swallow. There's a quiet murmur that accompanies the action, a soft "that's for you".
When he settles his tab and hits the streets, he's surprised to find Tony waiting for him. Maybe not waiting for him, exactly, but waiting. Or at least loitering. Steve assumes he couldn't manage to phone in a ride and hadn't even been able to walk himself home. This might even have been a smart move, walking home blackout drunk didn't usually end well for billionaires, even the ones with iron suits. Tony looks up at him as he steps out into the night air, swallowing and giving a quiet,
"Take me home."
This time, there's no second meaning there. Steve sighs, relenting and offering Tony a hand. He certainly needs it.
It doesn't take them long to return to Stark Tower, but by then Tony can barely stand on his own, let alone walk a straight line and get to his bedroom. Steve briefly considers leaving him in the lobby, but ultimately ends up playing escort all the way back to the bedroom. He's ready to leave when he feels a hand on his arm and turns to see a very sad, very drunk, Tony Stark.
Steve's not really sure he gets it. Tony said it himself: genius, billionaire, playboy. A lot of guys would kill to be just one of those things, and Tony had all three. What reason did he have to drink himself into oblivion like this? Steve has guilt, people he let down, people he couldn't save, and he couldn't get drunk even if he wanted to.
It's then that it occurs to him that maybe, Tony Stark has some guilt of his own.
Even in his state, Tony tries to make it sound casual, aloof, like he couldn't care one way or the other, but from the moment he had taken hold of Steve's arm he had given himself away. Steve feels something pooling his stomach, compassion, maybe, and pity. Definitely pity. Who would have thought there came a day when anyone felt bad for poor, drunk, Tony Stark. His reply is a noncommittal shrug, but it's enough. Tony smiles, grins even, latching to the front of Steve's shirt and pulling him in to kiss him.
The kiss is sloppy, clumsy, and it tastes like cheap liquor, but Steve doesn't shove him away, at least not immediately. There's a brief moment where he catches himself tilting his head, trying to improve the otherwise abysmal kiss, before he pulls away.
"Come on," Tony whispers, attempting to tug him towards the bed.
This kiss had surely meant nothing. Sex would only mean the same, and the fact that only one of them was intoxicated made it even more evident. There were people who would line up around the block to take advantage of Tony Stark, but he was not one of those people. He does move with Tony towards the bed, but only to ease him down into it. Once he's down, Tony hardly seems to remember his previous invitation, already kicking off his shoes and sprawling out on top of the sheets.
"Just go to sleep," Steve says with a sigh, all at once feeling impossibly tired himself, but there's no need to even say it; Tony is already out like a light. With a sigh, he collapses into a nearby arm chair, and joins Tony before he can spend too much time thinking about his evening.