The sun is shining and sirens are screeching and birds are whistling around them and the sun is so goddamn bright and Tony’s helmet lay abandoned on the ground.
Steve. Not Steve. He couldn’t—and so Tony falls to his knees, tears spilling from his eyes onto a blood-stained star and it must be raining, only it isn’t because Tony is still crying, gasping, wheezing, aching cries bubbling up from his chest and it is still sunny out and the birds are still calling and Steve is dead. The suit is soaked red, but not fire-engine red but Steve’s blood red and Tony can’t move.
It is not raining.
Blond hair is sticking to an ashen forehead and Tony trembles as he reaches out to touch that beautiful face one more time. Steve is cold already, the flush in his cheeks fading fast, and Tony can see it, the pale coloring of death creeping onto Steve’s flesh and all he can think about is how Steve doesn’t like the cold, how Steve steals the covers, how Steve loves getting sweaters for his birthday because he hates being cold.
“He doesn’t like being cold.” It’s raspy and quiet, and at first, Tony doesn’t realize he said it out loud, but suddenly, Clint is there and Tony is breaking apart at the seams and he can’t breathe for the life of him and he’s not sure he wants to.
“I know, Tony. I know,” Clint offers, and even though Tony’s taller than the archer, he has never felt smaller. He isn’t sure when they move, but Tony shuffles to his feet and he’s not sure when Thor gathered Steve into his arms, but Steve is so small or Thor is too big and Tony is sick to his stomach. The sun is still too goddamn bright, because Tony can’t see or maybe it’s the tears that blur his vision, he doesn’t know.
Later on, when the suit is off and Tony is standing beneath the showerhead, his clothes clinging to his body, he watches Steve’s blood swirl down the drain. When he finally gets out, after the water has turned icy and hurts his skin and he is so heavy, there is a fresh towel waiting for him on the counter.
Natasha is waiting for him in his room, their room, and Tony can’t look at the left side of the room, because then he’ll see the book that Steve was reading on the nightstand, then he’ll see their wedding photo in it’s frame on the dresser and he’ll break and he is made of iron and steel and metal and Tony Stark cannot break.
Tony Stark does not break.
He drops onto the bed, his body made of rock and stone and it feels like maybe someone has tied a stone to his feet and thrown him into the river because he is drowning and hurting and aching and he just wants it to be over. Natasha clambers into the bed next to him, and her small body is pressed to his back, the warm pressure reminding him that someone is there, reminding him that it is not Steve.
“I won’t tell you it’ll be okay. It won’t, and I’m sorry,” and Tony hears her voice warble a little bit and he thinks she says it like maybe she knows and suddenly Tony is so fucking tired and his heart is beating too fast.
So he closes his eyes and prays for sleep.
His heart can’t take it.
At the rate he’s going, Tony Stark will die of a heart attack before he is fifty. Jarvis has run the tests, and Tony’s not breathing right anymore, and his heart is overcompensating and so he makes his choice.
The arc reactor’s blue glows dies out when Tony takes it out, and the hunk of metal sails across the workshop and something shatters and Tony doesn’t care.
Tony Stark will die of a broken heart and the sun will still shine.