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Understanding Me Is The Hardest Thing To Do

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Prologue

"He's my best friend."

"So was I. But you chose him over me. Me. The one that you say you loved."

Tony Stark's eyes snapped open almost as if against their own will that cool June morning, he was shaking, feeling both too hot and too cold at the same time whilst he could feel the thin sheen of sweat that covered his brow and he was only too well aware of the tight pain in his chest, the arc reactor in the middle of said chest feeling like it had suddenly grown five sizes in a short period of time and was now pressing down on him, trying to choke the life out of him.

'No."

Tony's hand darted up to clutch at the metal outline of his arc reactor, feeling the outer casing, taking in deeps breaths as he tried to recall to himself that he had a reason for doing this, he wasn't crazy, he had done the right thing, right?

Tony groaned that second, his head coming back to whack off his pillows trying to calm his breathing and just allow his all too heavy eyes just that little bit more relaxation, was it too much to ask, he had been enjoying, well maybe enjoying wasn't the correct word to use in this situation, he was more just kind of re-watching everything again in his head, seeing the reality of what had happened, it just wouldn't leave his head and Tony wasn't too sure why, but this dream was stuck with him.

In the dream he had been back in Siberia, his Iron Man suit had been dented and scratched in places, his breathing heavy and loud as he and Steve had stared at each other, Tony from under the metal visor of his mask whilst Steve had had the hood of his Captain America suit up, the blue colour of the suit itself really bringing out the blue of his eyes and just making him look even more like the hero that his dad had always spoke of, the one his dad had loved more than him.

And that was why he had been there, wasn't it? In that small enclosed space, staring at Steve Rogers.

No, he hadn't been there directly because of his father or anything so surreal as that.

No, he had been there mostly because of what had caused the death of his father, caused him to have been able to breathe a sigh of relief when the shouting had ceased to exist but also had been the reason as to why he had had to listen to how his mother had suddenly lost her fight, had had her breath cut off. The reason why he had come to understand that he would never know the true reason as to why his father had hated him so much, why he had never shown him any love, why he had acted like he had been mourning the loss of a son despite his true son still being alive. The reason why his father had put all his trust into two people, one of whom Tony had put his trust into too, thought that he could trust with his whole life, the other one who Tony had never fully trusted and still to that day hadn't been too sure of, no that wasn't right, he hated that other guy.

He had been the reason behind of all this, the reason that Tony had never felt more alone than the night of his parents murder, the reason why he and Steve had been standing on slight opposite ends of the room.

That very reason, no thing, no whatever it had been had stood less than an inch away from Steve, curled into a slight ball, holding his stomach whilst a large gash in his head had split open again after Tony had punched him in the face from earlier, blood had been running down one side of his cheek and that thing had not even cared, 'Good' Tony had thought to himself despite the lack of reaction he had received from the man who had been standing behind Steve, 'he deserves to feel the pain that I have felt all these years.'

"Tony." Steve's voice had snapped his attention away from the thing that had huddled in the corner and instead had brought his eyes straight to those of Captain America's own loving, blue eyes.

'No' Tony had wanted to hit himself, whack his own face at that thought, he shouldn't have been thinking like that.

He should have never turned his eyes away from that other thing, shouldn't have let his eyes fall onto Steve's own, the very same Steve who had ended up being the one who had lied to him all those years, Steve who had always had been as much to blame as everyone else had been.

Steve had known, hadn't he? He had known that whole time about what that thing had done, he had known all that time and had never even bothered to inform Tony until that fateful moment that Tony had been forced by Zemo to view the footage as it had happened. Had to view the very moment of that awful car crash all over again, been forced to watch as his parents car had hit the tree, how that disgusting thing, that Winter Soldier had walked over, punching his fathers skull in before he had simply turned on his mother and choked her to death. The Winter Soldier had been behind all that.

Tony in that moment had been distinctly aware that the only and true reason that Steve... No, Captain America had never had the full guts to inform him of all that information had been because Rogers had never loved him, never even ever truly loved him because he had known deep down, he must have just how much that these details would go on to hurt Tony, had torn him apart from the inside out and mostly had made him sick to his stomach.

But and the biggest factor that had caused Tony to spend the next year or so in his bed, refusing to talk with anyone or leave for any reason whatsoever, the one true fact that had hurt most behind why Captain Rogers had never told him the whole and honest truth about that Winter Soldier, what he had done was despite Rogers showing himself to be, loyal, trustworthy and good at controlling anger in any room, the man had never seemed to understand that that, that thing he had put all his trust into so many years ago wasn't the same person as Rogers had originally thought.

That thing wasn't despite all of Rogers's attempts to argue the opposite his truest best friend that the captain had originally believed to have fallen to his death during the second world war, instead that thing had been rebuilt by the very same horrible organisation that they had tried to fight once before, they had plagued his mind, erasing all the man's original memories of his life before the fall.

They had even erased all the thoughts from the Winter Solider's brain of Steve himself, Tony is pretty if he had been there in that moment, he would have felt Steve's heart break at the thought but that didn't excuse anything. Nothing.

But the worst thing that that organisation had done was playing with the thing's mind making him think that anything to do with S.H.I.E L.D. was bad, that anything including Captain Rogers and they had messed the man's thoughts up so far until James Buchanan had been so far under the influence of HYDRA that he had been privy to their very ways, knew the rules inside and out and when all hope had finally been lost, the leader of HYDRA had ordered Barnes to cause the car crash that would delay his parents, had ordered the man to follow out the attack and kill them both if he had been unable to get the serum, the one that Hydra had always wanted more than anything else in this cruel world so that they could try their best to make more of those things that his father had made Steve all those years ago.

Hydra had told the Winter Soldier just what to do and how to go around executing it and that bastard had went straight ahead and followed his orders, never it would seem, stopping to give a single thought to how it was going to affect everyone in the long run, how Rogers would pull himself away from everyone, trying to figure out a way to bring his friend back, that at the end of it all, they were going to be hurting not only Howard Stark and his wife but would destroy everything else as the couple had a four year old son who had been waiting on his parents returning home from their meeting with S.H.I.E.L.D. to put him to bed and read to him until he fell asleep.

That same very son who had become very confused over time as he hadn't seen any cars coming up the drive as he was eventually shooed up to his bed just slightly after one am by the Stark's butler Edwin Jarvis whom had worked for Howard Stark since the man had been quite young himself, curling up in his sheets, Jarvis reading softly to him and putting on all the voices for the characters until the four year old had fallen asleep not even aware that his parents were dead.

Thinking back on it now, Tony had became slowly very aware of the fact that this had been Steve's biggest problem.

No matter how many times Tony had tried to tell the man otherwise, he had still somehow managed to find some way to trust the very man who had murdered his parents in cold blood and he hadn't even seemed to care that this hurt Tony to the very core of his being or that this had just served as evidence to the truth of how Rogers had really felt about him.

The truth that in such a small period of time had somehow managed to break Tony's heart into a thousand tiny pieces, shaking him to his core as he had come to understand that Captain Steve Rogers had never been the man that he had always pretended to be. He hadn't even been close anymore to the man that Tony had fallen in love with all those years ago.

"Get the hell out of my way Rogers."

Saying those exact words and finally having the courage to say part of Captain America's name out loud had left Tony in a state of disbelief, gone were the times when he would have happily yelled out Steve's name and begged him to understand, gone were the times where he no longer was scared to show his true emotions, something that had really destroyed his body whilst his shaking hand had been raised slightly, facing directly towards Steve Rogers, ready to strike at any second in such a way that could have tore Captain Rogers into two pieces but despite his anger he had never wanted to truly hurt him, the only thing that he had wanted was Barnes, he had wanted to continue to punch the crap out of that murderer and to have never stopped.

Most of all, he had just wanted to let that thing know the true meaning of the word pain.

'Kill him. He destroyed your family. You know it's the right thing to do'

"Tony."

Steve's voice in that one small second of time had made Tony's heart constrict, hearing the hurt and pain and just everything that Tony had been more than sure that he had been feeling in that very small second as he had reached up with one hand to pull the hood of his Captain America suit down from over his eyes.

"If you want to kill him. You'll have to kill me too."

Even to this day, Tony had always been more than sure that those words hadn't fully registered in his head at first, he had imagined at first that Rogers had been speaking to someone else or that he hadn't opened his mouth, hadn't uttered the cold, brutal words until he had no longer been able to deny it any more as a sob had escaped from between his lips, closing his eyes as he had tried picturing himself anywhere else, anywhere else in that very moment that he had felt his whole world fade away.

"Steve."

Just that one word, just the name of the man that Tony had always thought he had loved had left his lips and in that very next small second, Tony had opened his eyes again, his mind trying to tell him that it was going to be all okay whilst his heart had been breaking further.

"He's my best friend."

Tony had wondered before those words if it had really been possible for his whole body to shut down and it had been answered, he had known even back then that he had never wanted to hear another single word from Rogers ever again because that small thought of that man opening his mouth and saying something much worse had been too much for Tony to have fully comprehended.

"So was I..."

Tony finally opened his eyes again, this time realising that he was no longer in that cold, dank room in Siberia, instead he was tucked away in his room in the Avengers Tower - though most notably lately it was just occupied by one Avenger, himself - his eyes becoming glassy as he realised that the dream he had originally been having wasn't just a dream, it was a reality and it was one that Tony was now going to have to live with the rest of his life.

Bright white light invaded his senses that very moment and Tony groaned, his hand coming up to shade his eyes against the outer light and wondering why he had even woke up at this god-damn too early point in the morning anyway, a few seconds later though he was reminded as a loud shrill of sound, some annoying woman singing about trying to listen to your heart until Tony couldn't stand it anymore.

Remembering that the reason for the invading noise was F.R.I.D.A.Y. setting his alarm late last night - Tony was pretty sure that Pepper had told her to do it - so that he would be awake to go and do something that Pepper had been nagging him about for the last month or so and had never gotten further than telling Tony to get his ass out of bed before Tony would throw his covers over his head, telling F.R.I.D.A.Y to shut out all noise and light and not to allow anyone anymore access to his room and Pepper would storm out, rolling her eyes and referring to him as a troublesome two year old until Tony would fall back asleep, quite keen to block out the world all over again, Tony grabbed at the offending item, pulling loosely on the cord until suddenly the woman's shrieking had stopped as his alarm hit the ground and shattered upon impact, a mess of wires and broken glass and plastic all that remained of the damn thing.

Tony let his eyes close again, this time hearing the soft clop of footsteps taking the stairs up to his room and Tony groaned, trying his best to block out the noise and focus instead on who he wished it was rather than who he was more than well aware it was going to be.

Despite everything that had happened, a small part of Tony's mind still wished that Steve was going to come running up the stairs, taking them two at a time and appearing in the too small doorway, shield in hand but no, it was only ever to be fantasy because Captain Rogers had disappeared off to god knows where with Bucky - even the thought of the name brought a bad taste to his mouth - leaving nothing behind but his famous shield and a letter addressed to Tony advising that he should call him if he needed him but Tony, didn't, no he wasn't supposed to need the man as far as Tony could care, the further away that man was from him, the easier it was not to think about him or that stupid smile of his.

At least that's what Tony still liked to tell himself, the reality itself was much worse as he had first come to miss the extra body heat in his bed, he missed going to sleep feeling relaxed whilst his arms would curl around Steve's waist, Steve resting his chin on the top of Tony's head, both of them not needing to move an inch, he missed waking up during the night, trying to break out of a nightmare to find Steve already awake as if alerted, eyes looking at him with concern as he held Tony's chin softly in his hands, getting Tony to breathe with him, softly uttering to him that it was all going to be okay, it had just been a nightmare and in the end just letting him cry it all out all over his chest.

He even missed waking up later on in the morning, usually around about nine am feeling wide awake as he would roll over, noticing right away that Steve was no longer in the bed they shared but almost always exactly at the same time as if Tony had conjured him there, Steve would walk into the room, wearing a thin white t-shirt that was always a few sizes too small for him, his muscles taut against the tight material whilst Tony could see how the front of Steve's t-shirt was always already soaked through with sweat leaving nothing to the imagination as he would watch Steve's chest heaving up and down whilst a small layer of sweat would escape from his neck slowly dripping down to mix in with what would already be on his t-shirt, whilst he would also been wearing a pair of grey jogging pants that fit just exactly right, showing off his ass and the outer beginnings of Steve's v-line before it slipped down out of sight into his pants.

And it would be in that moment that Steve would look over his way, a wide smile on his face once he realised Tony was awake as he would wander over, pushing his ever growing blonde hair back out of his face despite how it only fell forward around his eyes and he would lean forward, kneeling onto the bed, caressing a hand up Tony's side, Tony's breath catching in his throat as it always did when Steve had touched him in this way, forgetting everything except that soft smile on his face as Steve would place a hand on top of his arc reactor, pressing soft kisses to the surrounding area of skin before Tony could no longer stand it and would run his fingers under Steve's chin, tilting his face up to meet his own as they would kiss, lips to lips, Tony curling his hands into Steve's hair whilst Steve would wrap his arms around Tony's waist and they would stay there for a good while until Tony would push Steve away playfully, refusing to keep kissing him again until he had showered.

Steve's lips would curl up on one side during that exchange, inviting Tony to join him in the shower instead, Tony unable to turn down that face down plus shower sex with Steve had always been so passionate, Tony throwing his head back every time against the tiled marble and crying out Steve's name as he came, loving the moments that they could share together and maybe just maybe knowing that it would be pissing off one Agent Phil Coulson when he wouldn't show up on the time for their meetings, the man being so punctual himself that Tony hadn't been surprised to learn that the man had arrived three hours early for his own birthday party.

But the one thing that Tony now missed more than anything was how no matter where they were, whether they were in the same bed, on opposite sides of the room or in the middle of a fight with the Avengers, he and Steve would always find each other, their gazes locking with one another and in that moment each man knew what the other was thinking, both never too afraid to let their love shine right through to their cores, knowing that they would always look out for one another.

No matter what.

But that was gone now, Tony knew that deep down, he was never going to hear Steve telling him how much he loved him or see Steve walk into a room, his eyes lighting up as soon as he locked eyes with those of Tony's and he would never feel Steve wrap his arms around him, whispering soothing words into his ear whilst placing soft kisses onto his forehead.

That was just something that wasn't going to happen again and it was all his fault.

His own damn fault, sure he had tried his hardest not to believe it first of all, instead tricking himself into believing that it had all been a dream or that it was all down to Bucky, the Winter Solider, that bastard who had killed his parents, from there the blame had switched to making sure a part of him knew it was Steve's fault, if only he had tried harder and actually tried telling Tony the truth instead of always hiding it away, protecting HIM.

But Tony had come to realise over time that despite what he thought deep down inside his own mind, it could never be be replaced by how he had a huge part to play in regards to the way he had treated everyone, his reputation as a hothead had been common knowledge to all but yet no-one seemed to care until it was too late and Tony was in the middle of throwing items around the room, his voice rising with each item, every moment he continued to let his anger overtake him.

From there he begun to understand the little things that he had failed to see before, when he and Steve had still been an item, how jealous he would seem to get at the smallest of things, how he had always wrapped an arm Steve's shoulder, sometimes even his waist whenever a random stranger would thank Captain America for saving them or if someone started to flirt with him, Tony would always make sure he was well within earshot, always equipped with a little hand making it's way around Steve's waist, sometimes even walking up to him and grabbing Steve when he was in the middle of talking to someone only to pull Steve down to him, pressing their lips together in a hot and messy kiss, his hands bunching up in Steve's shirt, pulling him so close that whomever he was speaking to would suddenly remember that they had somewhere to be and take off, leaving Steve in a slight state of confusion before Tony would wave the thought away from him and kiss him to ensure that he would forget about it within the next few moments.

Tony wasn't too sure how he hadn't noticed those small things crawling up one by one and from there it had gotten much worse so that when Natasha had simply given him a hug or patted his back, Tony would glare at her, almost like he was warning her to back off from his Steve, he from there had ended up doing exactly the same thing to Thor, Clint and even Bruce once or twice until he realised what he was doing and stopped.

And now Tony couldn't help but see that Steve had probably done the right thing by cutting him loose when he had before he could have gotten any worse and maybe hurt Steve one day, that was one thing that Tony knew he would never had been able to forgive himself for, if he had ever hurt Steve which he could guess in a way he had but... Ugh the light was messing with his brain.

"F.R.I.D.A.Y." Tony mumbled to himself, knowing that his A.I.'s keen hearing sense would pick up the words being stated to her.

"Turn all the lights off.. And close those damn curtains."

Tony turned around in his bed to watch with a small amount of amusement as the A.I. did exactly what he asked of her and within only seconds he was starting to feel better as the lights were switched off in the room, the curtains drawing themselves closed and throwing him into a state of complete and utter darkness.

"Sir. All lights have been switched off. Would you like me to play you that voicemail of Captain Rogers's you enjoy?"

Tony, who had felt his eyelids start to droop before F.R.I.D.A.Y. had spoke, suddenly felt wide awake, his insides feeling so cold despite the heat of the room and a feeling of dread deep inside at the thought of hearing that voice again, the voice he had not listened to since the voicemail had been played last to him only a day before, the voicemail of one Captain Steve Rogers that the man had left him almost six months ago.

"F.R.I.D.A.Y. play it." Tony knew that he had made the right decision, despite how much he knew it was going to probably going to kill him inside, he just knew that he had to listen to it.

With a quiet word of agreement, his A.I. went silent for a few moments before a very loud buzzing sound began to fill the air, as Tony understood that she was looking through all of his records trying to find the information that Tony had asked for, she would need to access files that Tony had originally put blocks onto until he would allow them to be accessed and from there she would then need to find the right frequency to play the voicemail.

"Tony. Goddammit" The first words of the voicemail began to play, Tony immediately feeling his head start to go fuzzy and his breathing to grow more laboured as he listened on, not having to think as he knew every single word off by heart, he knew that this was the reason as to why he hadn't jumped either when it had began to play, he was just used to it now.

"Why can't you just answer your phone? I needed you to be here and you let me down. No, scratch that you let the Avengers down. I get that you like to think that you are some sort of Mr Macho guy but don't you understand how many people you are hurting right now by acting like such a spoilt brat? That's not really fair Tony." The message stopped suddenly as Tony heard Steve's voice on the other end pause to take in a deep breath, his voice slowly starting to crack as he continues.

"I love you Tony and although I hate so much to admit it, I miss you. I know that we have a major difference of opinion and I'm so sorry about the arc reactor but he is my best friend and I couldn't let you kill him despite what I know about him, I knew Howard too. Tony... I... Urgh... Why must you make these things so difficult and just leave me not knowing what to think. We're going to..."

"Steve?.."

No matter how many times Tony had now heard the voicemail, the sound of that thing being in the same room as Steve was enough to cause Tony's hand to close into a fist thinking about how much he would just love right now to have it be Bucky's throat in his fist and to be choking the life out of him right now.

"Steve.. No..."

And the voicemail fully stopped, just the mechanical voice updating Tony that that this voicemail message had been left on the seventeenth of March two thousand and seventeen and giving him the options to save the message, delete it or call the number back, the first two times after Tony had first gotten the voicemail he had tried to return the call thinking it rude for that bastard to tell Steve what to do but both times the number had went right to voicemail and he had given up.

Telling F.R.I.D.A.Y. once again just to go ahead and save the message, Tony turned onto his other side, away from anything as he placed his head softly down onto the pillow, that in the past had been a part of Captain America, the pillow that he had slept on each night without fail and left behind an amazing smell of coffee, Gucci aftershave and something that was just Steve. Even to this day the pillow still smelt like the Captain, it still had the lingering scent of Steve and there was even a small bit of blood from where Steve had once bled onto it after thinking his nose was okay when someone had punched him.

'I'm so sorry Steve" Tony thought to himself, grasping the pillow tightly, his eyes half open as he started to feel a build up of moisture before the tears spilled over, sliding down his face to plop onto the pillow below.

"Sir? Should I fetch Miss Potts? Perhaps even calls Captain Rogers? You do seem depressed when he is not here."

"No. No. Don't do that F.R.I.D.A.Y. just play the voicemail again and after that please play Steve's and I's song until I fall back asleep" Despite Tony knowing that his A.I. had his best interests at heart and no matter how much he knew that she didn't want to see her boss in such a state of depression, it didn't help to hear her trying to butt in with her own ideas and methods of what could help him.

That wasn't the reason why he had designed her, he had originally designed F.R.I.D.A.Y. as a way to help them out after the outbreak of Ultron and she had proved to be very useful so he had agreed to keep her on but after a certain amount of time the A.I. had seemed to suddenly get a mind of her own and from there had become very prone to speaking her mind which Tony knew was both a blessing and a curse in disguise.

"Sir. I know it is little of my business but you do not seem to leave your bed except for when your bladder calls upon you. Is wallowing in what could have been between you and Captain Rogers really the best way forward from here?"

"You're right F.R.I.D.A.Y., it isn't any of your god damn business so just do what I said. Now."

Getting angry was the last thing that Tony wanted to do right now but due to his A.I. not seeming to know when to back out of his personal life and refusing to do exactly as he said, he was slowly getting to the end of his tether.

"Sir" She was very persistent it would seem, "I will do so if you wish me to but it isn't really good for your health is it? Captain Rogers himself does not seem to be wallowing in self-pity."

But now she had just crossed a line. Tony could understand someone telling him that he was acting childish for staying in his bed and not doing anything but to hear the words that 'Captain America' wasn't as upset about their breakup as he was, well that shouldn't be allowed, Captain Rogers should be just as upset as he was, if not more, just because that smiling ass-hole acted like he didn't care about anything, that didn't mean that he was the same.

"Yeah? Well guess what F.R.I.D.A.Y., I'm not Steve fucking Rogers so just do as I asked you the first time. Or I'll make sure you don't speak out of turn again."

Tony felt a tightness in his chest loosen as he finally let loose what he had to, he knew it was wrong to shout at his A.I. like that but she really had drawn the line between Boss and assistant and trying to insinuate that Steve was off doing god knows what and wasn't thinking about him was unforgivable, he wasn't that forgettable, was he?

"Of course sir." And Tony had to stop himself from letting a small smirk cross his face at how scared his A.I. sounded all of a sudden as if she were some sort of dog that had just been given in trouble for peeing on the carpet despite being fully housed trained.

"I apologise for being out of line."

The buzzing noise returned a few moments and unlike last time within a few seconds, Steve's voice started to fill the empty bedroom, Tony softly closing his eyes over, muttering the words to himself whilst a small part of his brain was letting him fall back into a land of dreams where he could be happy and be back with Steve, ever so happy and content as they danced together on the dance floor, Steve's hands on his waist whilst Tony had his head on Steve's shoulder, it was something that Tony had only ever dreamed of but the reality was not to be.

The voicemail ended in the same way, Tony too lost in his thoughts to really comprehend anything before a few minutes later, a soft tune started to play over the speakers, lyrics of love and loss and just feeling alive mixing with his thoughts of him and Steve in his head of what they had been before the big fight, how they had once spent a whole night just sitting in the kitchen of Avengers Tower, discussing their favourite movies and Tony laughing whenever Steve didn't seem to understand a reference to a movie, Tony informing him that they would be watching it at their next movie night and seeing through on the promise.

'I'm so glad we made it, look how far we have come now baby.'

Hearing the last few lines of his and Steve's song play, fading away into the quiet of his room, only to pick up again a few seconds later, just like he had asked, Tony allowed his eyes close over, not caring that Pepper would most likely be storming up-stairs currently trying to figure out why he wasn't downstairs, ready to go. He was just lost.

He was happy.

In his dream, Tony could feel the cool night swirling around him, a soft wind tousling his hair, doing nothing to douse the feeling of warmth deep inside him as he felt someone walk up behind him, arms coming up to wrap around his waist and warm lips touching softly at the side of his neck, causing Tony to shiver involuntarily at the feeling.

"Hey."

And there he was, America's greatest hero and the love of Tony's life, one Steve Rogers or as most people called him, Captain America had found, Tony had known right away who it was but hearing his voice made him feel that little bit just more safe as he leaned back into the arms surrounding him.

"Everyone's looking for you to give a speech and I don't know about you but the Tony Stark I know never shy's away from talking about himself."

Tony couldn't help the soft chuckle that escaped him in that moment, Steve really knew him well, maybe a bit too well but he was right, Tony did like talking about himself just a little bit too much at times but this was one of those moments where he wasn't sure if he was doing the right thing.

"You're right. But I guess just the thought of making a speech not as Tony Stark, son of world famous Howard Stark but just as plain old Tony Stark. It's nerve wracking."

Steve's arms tightened around him in that one small second and Tony leaned his head back onto Steve's shoulder, chuckling to himself at the thought that more than ten years ago, he would have never thought about opening up to someone like that, to actually show that he truly had a vulnerable side and that he did have moments where he was afraid, even of making something as easy as a speech.

"You have nothing to be worried about. I know how it can be to go up on a stage, not knowing how people are going to react but you have something that I never had."

Tony couldn't help it, he turned around in the Captain's hold, quirking one eyebrow up as if he couldn't quite believe that he had something now in the current twenty-first century that one Steve Rogers didn't have back during the war.

"You have me. That's one but also you have a big group of friends who believe in you and know that you can do it too. But most important of all, despite all of your best efforts to deny the thought, you have courage Tony, more so than what I had."

Tony snorted, the idea of Captain America being terrified was something that he found hard to believe especially as he had seen the guy take on a horde of HYDRA soldiers without breaking a sweat and then to actually hear about the guy beating the crap out of his own best friend, one Bucky Barnes so he wouldn't hurt anyone when the Winter Soldier had terrorised New York. Yeah, Tony wasn't even close to believing that Captain America was scared of something.

"You are kidding me right? Mr Captain America is scared of something? Steve, I grew up hearing all your stories from my dad and they were impressive, not about someone who was , they were about someone who was and continues to be brave and strong and lives up to the typical American Dream. You are mppphh.."

Tony was pretty sure that if he could complain about being interrupted mid-rant he would have but as it stood, he really didn't care as he was cut off by Steve placing one of his hands over his mouth, giving him a soft look as if silently telling him to shut up, which was then replaced by Steve's own lips as he kissed him.

Tony couldn't help the small gasp that escaped his lips in that small second his hands up coming up to clench into the soft fabric of the suit jacket that he had picked out for the other a few weeks previous and just holding there as Steve kissed him, Tony returning the kiss in kind, using the suit jacket to pull him close and tilting his head slightly, softly licking at Steve's lips begging for entrance which Steve allowed, their tongues battling for dominance for a few minutes until they pulled away, Tony leaning his head on Steve's very firm chest, taking in deep breaths whilst Steve let his chin rest on top of Tony's head, but he was more than well aware that Steve would currently have a big smile on his face.

"You had better not be about to say something so incredibly corny right about now Mr Rogers or else I will throw you right back into this ice."

The sound that erupted from Steve in that second was one that Tony had only heard on a few occasions - the most prominent one being when Thor had almost screamed the tower down when Clint had replaced his shampoo with Nair causing the Asgardian prince to run around trying to pick up his fallen hair whilst Steve had stood in the kitchen, looking very confused, brows furrowed before something had seemed to come over the Captain and he had doubled over, unable to stop the bark of laughter that escaped his lips and even when Tony had entered the kitchen a few moments later asking him what was so funny, Steve had been unable to respond, still laughing and holding a hand to his side as if in stitches, that was the first time that Tony had thought of Steve as someone who could let their guard down and he had smiled softly to himself, that had also been the moment that he had found himself falling in love with Steve Rogers, the man himself and not the hero that his father had made the man out to be - and now, Tony couldn't help but smile again as he heard that same bark of laughter escape from the Captain's lips now, the others chest rising and falling as he laughed.

"So I guess I'm not allowed to tell you how much you sound like I once did before I got this serum when I ceased kissing you."

And now it was Tony's turn to laugh, a faint crinkle of his eyes and a short, sharp high pitched sound that made Tony flush slightly.

"When you ceased kissing me? Steve, I know your from the forty's but come on, even you must admit that makes no sense."

Steve seemed to tilt his head quizzically to the side after Tony spoke, looking almost like Tony had told him that he had carrots for arms instead of making fun of the super soldiers way of speaking but then the other man seemed to smile, as if he had understood it.

"Tony..." Steve's eyes were shinning in that moment and Tony feared that the man was going to start crying but nothing of the sort happened, in-fact if Tony was right in thinking, Steve seemed to almost be becoming blurry, but that wasn't right.

"Steve?"

Tony's voice seemed to carry as if he was shouting across a football field, everything seemed to go more blurry and dark.

"Tony."

As if Tony had become more than aware of it, he could hear that the music out with his dream had stopped but that couldn't be, he hadn't told her to stop it.

"Tony Stark..."

"Oh for gods sake, Tony, wake the hell up."

Something hit Tony in the chest and with a last thought of Steve, his eyes snapped open again immediately coming to rest on a finely pressed suit jacket facing him before his eyes came up to rest on the tall, red haired woman who was currently standing in his room, her arms crossed tight across her chest and her mouth turned down into a look that that Tony was pretty sure would have killed him right there on the spot if he had been anyone else.

"And a good morning to you too Pep. What seems to have got you looking so well annoyed?"

It was Pepper Potts, his assistant and former girlfriend, usually a kind spirit with a smile on her face, the opposite was clear now as Tony stared over Pepper, trying to work one of his best apology smiles onto his face that usually always made everyone crumble at his feet, the same could not be said of Pepper right now though.

Oh boy, he was in trouble...