He looked at her and took a deep breath as he hesitated, second-guessing himself in front of her, again.
It was the day after the Battle of New York and everyone was worried about Tony.
He almost died.
Everyone knew that.
When he took the nuclear bomb towards the alien ship and promptly lost control of his suit, he knew that it was his last.
But then a woman showed up - no, Hermione, showed up riding whatever it was, took hold of him and apparated them straight back to land.
She saved him.
That was after he walked out on her too.
They were best friends all their lives, earlier than Rhodey, even. Even after his family moved to America and her family stayed in London - hell, even after she stayed at that school he could neither find nor identify, they stayed in contact.
Except that one year which she refused to talk to him about.
He fell in love with her, it was the most easiest thing he's done.
They dated for three years.
But then the Mandarin happened and he got scared for her and told her to go.
She fought to stay.
He didn't let her.
It was at least two-years since they last saw each other after that. Nick introduced her as a new member of Avengers and a witch.
And then the patched-eyed man proceded to laud the woman in front of them.
Most respected Auror who fought in a war.
"What war?" he remembered asking then.
"The one you never learned about, Stark" was her answer.
As if she didn't know him.
It stung. A lot.
It hurt more when after the meeting he saw her introducing herself to Steve.
His heart plummeted to his stomach more when he realized she smiled to everyone including him.
As if she has already moved on. He hadn't, so it's unfair.
He started dating Pepper then, made sure that Pepper's there whenever he and Hermione would be in the same room.
He watched her reaction as he kissed another girl. But she never looked his way. At least that's what he thought, until Captain America himself caught him one evening and told him off for hurting Hermione. He told him to leave her alone.
"She's mine!" he remembered yelling then, worked up from head to toe at the audacity of this man to tell him to leave Hermione alone, but was more surprised when he heard Steve mutter an, "We know!" in front of him and told him how everyone knew about what happened to him and Hermione - who they are to each other. How, in fact, when he left that first day, two wizards came wanting to take Hermione back to England where she will be 'Far away from that asshole who hurt her' which made him hung his head from shame.
Steve left him after that.
And on the next meeting, he saw her with Hermione laughing heartily, and saw that same smile she used to reserve for him, being given freely to someone else.
He broke up with Pepper after that, decidinf he couldn't lie to himself anymore.
He, however, opted to take more missions, so he wouldn't have to see her - but felt like it had an adverse effect, as the more he found himself out, the more he found himself being surrounded by her.
Either as his partner or as the one who heals him after a very painful mission, he found that he couldn't escape her and to his horror, found himself falling for her further.
"Why are you fighting? This is not your fight" he told her one night as they slept in the same room but in different beds.
There was a long pause and he thought she fell asleep, but then he heard her answer, stood up and left.
"Because this is the world where you are. I fight because you are fighting and my fight is alongside yours"
Now here they are.
Standing in front of the other.
As a man and a woman who both loved fiercely to the point of heartbreak.
Geniuses, whose only flaw is not knowing how to make their relationship work.
"Would you like to stay for dinner?" he asked her with a small tentative smile. There are so many things he wants to tell her. To ask her. But then they heard Rhodey yell not far from where they are if she, instead, wanted to stay forever, which made the two of them laugh lightly.
"Dinner sounds great" he heard her answer after a while before pushing herself into his arms.
All was well.