Tony stumbled home just after midnight. He had one too many drinks at a run-down pub near the Stark Tower. Sleep deprived, drunk, and with too much caffeine running through his system, he was a complete mess. He just needed a break. His shirt was only half tucked in and his watch was missing, which didn’t really matter. He knew that he should talk to people when he was feeling down, but it was difficult to open up to people, even Steve. Not very many people had stayed with Tony. Everyone eventually left at some point. Even Pepper left. Howard taught Tony that no matter how hard he tried, he would never be good enough for anyone. Ending up with Captain America was too good to be true. Tony was having doubts and his mind wouldn’t be quiet.
Steve was waiting for Tony on the couch. He was drawing the night-time skyline of New York from the penthouse apartment of Stark Towers. Ordinarily he would have been angry at Tony for being out late and breaking his promise to stop drinking. Earlier, Steve heard Tony talking to himself during an anxiety attack. Steve was dumbfounded by the things that he heard and he could hardly believe that they were actually said. He was planning to talk to Tony, but not until he had time to think about what to say and the right way to say it.
“Bucky is back. Steve is going to leave me for sure. I have to find a way to break it off with him before he has the chance to break it off with me.” Tony didn’t want to deal with the pain that came with being broken up with. When Pepper left, Tony gave himself alcohol poisoning in attempts to get so drunk that he would forget all about her. He woke up four days later in a hospital alone. Tony was talking to himself in the mirror in his bathroom, a common practice for when he prepared for giving speeches that were actually important in some way. “I love Steve so much. I don’t want him to be unhappy by staying with me. I’m not even good enough for him. All I am is an egotistical narcissist who likes to tinker. Bucky would understand him so well. I can’t hold him back.” Tony began to sob. “Here goes. Steve, it’s over between us. I need to focus on my projects that I have been putting off while I’ve been with you. You can be with James now, so it works out for the both of us.” Tony cried. He hated the thought of being alone, and even more than that, the thought of living without Steve Rogers.
Tony lumbered over to the couch, not sure if he would be able to walk all the way to his and Steve’s bedroom. He also didn’t want to sleep next to Steve. It would just be a painful reminder of what he had to do the next day. Cuddling with his beloved would just make the break up even harder to go through with. Tony sat down on the couch and heard a loud yelp. He ended up sitting down on Steve who was lost in thought. Tony immediately attempted to stand up. Steve wrapped his arms around Tony’s waist and pulled him back down next to him on the couch. Tony being a drunken mess, didn’t make any attempt to stand up again.
Steve looked into Tony’s eyes and put a hand gently on Tony’s face. Tony closed his eyes as a single tear slid slowly down his cheek and onto Steve’s hand. “Tony,” Steve began quietly, “why do you do this to yourself?” Steve’s voice was calming and quiet. It made Tony want to put his head on Steve’s chest and sleep away his troubles. Steve ran his hand through Tony’s hair.
“Cap, there’s something I have to tell you. I realize that Bucky is back, and I know that you are going to want to be with him instead of me. I’m okay with it. I have projects that I need to work on and you can go and be with the love of your life.” Even as Tony said it, he didn’t believe it. “I don’t want you to have to deal with breaking up with me.” Tony wiped away the tears that were beginning to form, he didn’t need Steve to think that he was weak.
“No, cap, really I’m okay. You don’t need to worry about me. I’ll still be a part of the team and just because we won’t be a couple, doesn’t mean I will favor the others over you. I’ll be able to work on new weapons for Clint and Natasha, and new schematics for suits.”
Steve grabbed Tony and pulled him in hard for a kiss. That was really the only way to get Tony to stop rambling. Tony pulled away, confused about what had just happened. He sat there, not knowing what to say.
“Tony, I’m not going to leave you. I never had any intentions of ever leaving you. Bucky is back, but you’re the love of my life. I wouldn’t say that to you unless I meant it. Bucky doesn’t even remember who I am, and if he did, he would never forgive me for not being able to save him. Please don’t doubt me.”
At this point, Tony wasn’t sure whether to be angry at himself for letting his brain talk him into believing that Steve would leave him, or to be happy because the one person he truly loved more than anything wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Tony smiled, relieved. Steve hugged Tony and then pulled him in for long, slow kiss. He could taste the alcohol on Tony’s breath, but this time it didn’t bother him in the slightest. Steve pulled back, and fumbled with his fingers to grab the dog-tags around his neck. “Tony, I want you to have these. Pepper thought that I should get you a promise ring, but I decided that this would be more meaningful. Back in the forties, guys would give these to their girlfriends as a promise to come back. This is my promise to you that I will always be there for you.”
Steve put the dog-tags around Tony’s neck. The billionaire wrapped his arms around his soulmate. They stayed like that for a long time. Tony eventually put his head on Steve’s chest and fell asleep. Steve stroked his back and kissed the top of his head before picking Tony up and carrying him off to bed. Tony awoke briefly when he was laid in their bed. “I love you so damn much.” Steve wrapped himself around Tony and they both fell into a blissful sleep.