Steve can remember faintly what colors used to look like. He can remember the ferocity behind red and the brightness of yellow. He can remember the cools of purples and the calms of greens. He can remember how blue his eyes were and how pink her cheeks would get. Then he died, the last thing Steve could see were his blue eyes widened with fear, and the world became dull, the colors still there just not as bright. She was there, soft, cherry red lips yelling empty promises in his ear as he went down. Then he woke up and for the first time he witnessed the world in black and white. With only his memories in muted color.
Strangely enough, the first color to come back wasn’t red or blue. It was brown. Brown. Of all the colors. He doesn’t remember exactly how it happened. One moment he was sitting in the living room, simply watching Stark and Clint argue as they always do, when the eyes staring at him started to fill with warmth. He was mesmerized, it had been so long since he’d seen any color and now he can clearly see the brown of Stark’s hair and eyes. Eyes that were still waiting for an answer. Steve quickly shook his head and mumbled a response that seemed to satisfy Tony, leaving Steve to contemplate the new color to his life. The new warmth that came from looking into those brown eyes. Brown. Wasn’t that something.
Steve wasn’t exactly avoiding Tony, he was just making sure they weren’t in the same room at the same time for a while. So yeah, maybe anytime he saw Stark he’d turn in the opposite direction and yea maybe right now he’s hiding in the gym taking out his frustrations on a punching bag. But that doesn’t mean he’s avoiding him. With a final punch, Steve leans his head against the bag and lets out a big breath. It just didn’t make any sense to him, Stark being his soulmate. Not only that but this was different. With Bucky it was in an instant. As soon as Buck helped him up and said his name the world was flooded with colors and it almost felt like being shot. Peggy’s was different but still the same, it happened in an instant. She smiled at him and suddenly there was more . No one understood what he meant by that except Howard, he never got to ask how he knew. Ton-Stark was different, of course he was, in an instant he got one color. Now all he can see is the light brown of coffee and the dark brown of his eyes and every shade of fucking brown in between. One color. Steve knew that if he saw Stark again another color would add to his brown tinted world. His world will keep getting brighter with Stark in the middle of it all. How can Steve stop at just one color? At brown? It’d turn into an addiction. Even worse, it’d be a one sided addiction. Tony didn’t react at all when Steve looked into his eyes which means Tony is Steve’s soulmate but Steve isn’t his. And isn’t that just the cherry on top of the cake.
“What’s your problem Cap?” Tony’s voice startled Steve to the point where he actually recoiled and bumped into the punching bag. He looked toward Tony, lie at the ready, and found himself looking into his brown eyes once more. He missed them. He missed him . He takes a step back as he feels a shot to his chest and all of a sudden he can see blue again. Not in another’s eyes though, no, it’s coming from Stark’s chest and Steve can feel nothing but pain and wonder. What is happening?! It feels like he can’t breath, like there’s an emptiness in his chest yet all he can feel is warmth. Without realizing it he had put his hand on his chest, trying to stop the pain, mirroring the arc reactor on Stark. He takes a step towards Steve causing Steve to fall back. He hears a sound of distress, he’s in too much pain to realize it’s him. Stark stops moving towards him. The pain slowly fades and Steve let’s his hand fall as he just stares at the floor. To someone else, he could probably brush it off, make a joke, say it was just a bad day but not to Stark. He’s too smart for that. All that’s left to do is wait. For the anger, for the fight, for the heartbreak. Can it really be called heartbreak when I don’t even love him? With a small glance to Tony, he can tell that that’s not completely true.
“Tony, please don’t.” Steve looks up fully to see Tony’s startled face. “I-We can just- Don’t worry about it ok?” Then he’s rushing out of the gym, ignoring the dark blue walls and the sky and everything except getting to his floor where, hopefully, Tony won’t follow. Tony?
“Steve- wait!” The elevator door closes and Steve can finally breath again.
He only leaves his floor to go on his daily run and when the Avengers alarm goes off. Everytime he see Tony, he keeps his head low, his eyes down, and makes sure they don't touch. He knows he's being ridiculous, he's Captain America for god sake he should be able to handle rejection. But being alone with nothing but your thoughts can be educational. He can remember thinking how handsome Tony was but squashing the thought down and replacing it with anger, he can remember seeing Iron Man for the first time without hate in his mind, how awestruck he was. He can remember falling in love with Tony Stark, way before he ever saw color. And isn't it strange that his memories are now in color too. So no, he can't handle the rejection, because it just might break him.
Tony finally confronts him after a mission when everyone had left the debrief and Steve was on his way back to his floor. He's still wearing his uniform and the only part of Tony he can see is his face. Now that he's looking, he can't. He tries to keep walking away from him but when he hears Tony call his name, so sadly, he can't find it in him to. He turns around, head down and shoulders slumped. He can't find it in himself to be confident. He's so lost in his head that he doesn't know Tony is in front of him until he can see his sock cover feet, toe to toe with his shoes. He smiles, exasperated, at the idea of Tony waking up from a binge in the workshop and jumping into his suit, no time to change. He hopes he's been eating, that some was bringing food down to him- No . He shakes his head, he can't think of him like that, he can't . “Steve, I need you to look at me.” Steve could feel Tony's breath as he talked, quietly, just for him. Steve shakes his head again, almost childlike in his stubbornness. Tony chuckles, reaching a hand out and placing it along Steve's jaw, slowly lifting his head up. Steve couldn't find it in him to fight back, but he did close his eyes. Tony swiped his thumb underneath his left eye, “c'mon baby, lemme see those pretty blue eyes of yours.”
His eyes open in shock, he's still not looking at Tony, he looks beyond him, where the iron man suit stands patiently awaiting it's creator to return. “You know the color of my eyes.” He gasps, the idea of this being a possibility, the hope overwhelming his chest. Please.
“ Yea steve, I do, now please, let me see them again.” He's smiling, Steve can hear it in his voice, God he wants to see what his eyes look like. He flickers his gaze down to Tony's nose. “ooo so close, try again.” Steve smiles and reluctantly looks into Tony's eyes. “There they are.” Steve can barely hear him, to entranced by the iron man suit coming alive behind Tony. He can see red. He laughs breathless, there's still some gray in the suit, Steve's not surprised, Tony isn't simple in any way but he can see the red that creates the iron man. He looks to Tony, ready to spout compliments and finally tell him just how amazing he is, until he sees the red dripping down from Tony's temple, a stark contrast against his olive skin.
“You're bleeding,” He raises his hand, placing it on Tony's face, mirroring Tony's own hand on his. Tony subconsciously leans into the touch, Steve falls even further for him.
“Am I now?” Tony pulls Steve's face to his, connecting their lips and something in Steve swells. Its new and chaste and messy but its perfect. Steve lifts his other hand to grab onto Tony's face, holding onto him as if his life depended on it. Tony deepens the kiss, stepping farther into Steve. He molds himself into Tony's front, wishing he could get closer, he needs to be closer. He lets out a moan as Tony licks into his mouth. They stop together, foreheads pressed against each other and breathing heavily. Smiles tattooed on their faces. Steve opens his eyes and he can see. He can see the dark green carpet and the yellow of one of Tony's sock. But most of all he can see Tony, he can see him.
Tony beams, looking up at Steve through his lashes. “You can see me” Steve says it almost shyly.
“I've always seen you, I'm just glad you started to see me too.” Tony looks down, a blush spreading across his cheeks. Steve could stare at him for ages, categorizing every color, every detail, everything. Maybe Tony will let him draw him now that he feels the same, now that he's always felt the same. But Steve was too stubborn to hear him out, too concerned about himself that he couldn't see that Tony has always seen him for him. Never again.
“I'll see you forever.” Tony's thumbs swipe at his cheeks once more, this time wiping away the tears that started to fall while they kissed, while Steve was given everything he could want and more.
Tony smiles, “It's a deal.” As if a fairytale, he seals the deal with a kiss. And Steve feels alive and awake and warm for the first time since he came out of the ice.