There are days where Steve sits with a cup of coffee, staring up at the stars – one of the few things that has not changed from the 40’s - and reflects on how his life has turned out. He lives in the 21st century, his family is bunch of misfits come together, who are superheroes and he is in love with Tony Stark. When he was a child and someone would have told him that this would be a life, he would have laughed and told them to get their head on straight.
Despite, how unconventional his life is, Steve is so grateful. For all of it. He got a second chance when he was fished out of the ice and he adores the Avengers, the team who quickly became family and Tony, god, Tony is one of the best things that graced the 21st century.
But yet there are still days where Steve struggles to get up in the morning, where Tony’s affection is stifling and all he wants is to succumb to the dark thoughts that rage in his mind and let the days pass. Because one thought that never came to mind, that Steve never imagined when he thought what his future would hold is the amount of loved ones he has lost, has buried. Steve has a list of names carved into his old suite where he stayed before moving in with Tony. A list of all the people he has failed in his life. Failed by not being better, faster, and stronger. And it was his failure that left him losing so many who he loves.
The List etched upon his old wall is something that no one knows about. He knows that if Tony found out about The List he would be angry, compassionate and try and dissuade that it wasn’t his fault. Stop being martyr and torturing yourself, Steve. But it was and no one could convince him otherwise. The length of The List takes up an entire column of a wall but threes name, right at the top of the list are his biggest failings and to this day, Steve is filled with regret and guilt for his shortcomings.
After entering into a relationship with Tony, Steve has never felt so lucky, wondering what he ever did to deserve such an amazing man.
After the initial meeting where the two of them nearly came to blows, he never would have thought that he would be in a committed relationship with Tony Stark. But after moving into Avengers Tower, their truce quickly turned into a hesitant friendship until Tony had caught him in the midst of a panic attack one night. The night became cold after Steve had left for a quick walk around the neighbourhood and the feeling of sinking back into the cold ocean had him rushing into the Tower struggling to breathe. Tony had found him and coaxed him through it all to his surprise at the time, which began a series of visits whenever the two felt the walls of their terrors pressing too close. The periodic meetings then bled to the day where they found each other enjoying each other’s company either in Tony’s workshop or out in the city, where Tony would drag Steve time and time again after he had proclaimed that he was now in charge of Steve’s culture education.
Steve couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment where he realized that he was in love with Tony Stark. It wasn’t a sudden realization, yet more so as if Steve had suddenly awakened from a long peaceful dream to see what was right in front of him. He found everything Tony did breath-taking. To the way he stumbled in the mornings needing that hit of coffee to be coherent, to the look in his eyes when he worked, to his bravery both in and out of the suit, to the smirk that fell away to the shy smile that reinforced the lines around eyes and to the blush that lined his cheeks when they appreciated Tony. Every moment, Steve soaked up and cherished and found himself wanting. If Bucky was around to see Steve, he would have knocked him over the head saying, “Your pining is pathetic, Rogers. Get your head outta your ass and make a move.”
The move that ended up starting his relationship was after watching Tony fall from the sky, as his breathe caught in his throat and his heart stopped, thinking that he was about to bury and add another name to The List. The wait in the hospital for Tony to open his eyes had felt like another seventy years as the cold surrounded and once again threatened to take from him. But when he finally lay eyes on Tony’s gorgeous brown eyes and his soft smile, Steve surged forward and kissed him, confessing whilst trying to fight off the sob taking refuge in his throat, “I love you, Tony. God, I love you so much.”
As Tony confessed his own feelings and they both lay in the hospital bed, entwining each other together, it was that moment, and Steve knew that he couldn’t play it safe anymore. With the lives they all lived, Steve could lose everything in a blink of an eye and he was damned sure that he was not going to be left with what-if’s and bitter-thought memories at the end of it all.
Fast forward four years and Steve couldn’t believe four years had passed since that day in the hospital. Four years where he built a life with Tony as he continued to fall for the man every day. His days began and ended with Tony and he could not be any more perfect. As he got dressed for their usual anniversary dinner upon the rooftop of the Tower, the venue where they had their first date, Steve thought he could not be more content in his life.
Later when thinking back on this night, Steve’s self-loathing would rival Tony’s on a bad day with how stupid he was not to hold on to what he had with every bit of strength he had in him.
Tony checked himself out in the mirror once again to try and calm down his nerves. Today was his four year anniversary with Steve, a fact that would have once shocked and sent him into a panicked state. He never would have thought that he would be in a relationship with Steve Rogers. He was content to be Steve’s best friend and hide how much he ached for him but somehow, somehow in a way that Tony couldn’t understand, the stars aligned and Steve fell in love with him. Tony Stark. Despite his insecurities in the early stages of their relationship, Steve treated Tony as if he was something to be cherished and eventually – to be completely honest, it was two months ago – Steve convinced him that no matter what, Steve would be at his side and would continue to love him.
Which is what lead to tonight. Tony had quickly realized that Steve was it. The only one that he would ever love like he does – a flare of light throughout the darkness that surrounded him his entire life – which is why he was going to propose. Tony took the box out of his pocket, opened it and ran his finger over the vibranium ring infused with titanium alloy from the suit. Engraved on the inside of the ring was one simple word that described what Steve was to Tony, perfectly: home.
Feeling the sweat build him in his palms, Tony wiped them across his tank top lying on the floor, as he placed the ring back into his pocket. Jesus fucking Christ, get your shit together, Stark. It was going to be okay, staring into Steve’s baby blue eyes, on the rooftop – one of his most favourite places – Tony would find the courage to propose and Steve would say yes. After all he is Tony fucking Stark. Once that thought would have deflated Tony, sending a rush of self-deprecation and loathing through him. But through the years and with Steve’s never ending patience and love, Tony began to see his worth and knew that no matter what, he was a catch. At least in Steve’s eyes he was and that was more than enough to Tony.
Tony once again checked that he looked amazing – which he did, Steve would struggle to keep his hands of him tonight – and smirked, he could do this. No big deal. He has gone one-on-one with The Mandarin and Hydra before. Proposing to his super soldier would be a piece of cake.
With the sudden surge of confidence flitting through him, Tony left his room to enter the elevator where he ran into Steve. Steve wore a simple blue suit that emphasised his gorgeous eyes. The rush of lust that ran through him was so familiar, as was the adoration that he felt. He leaned up to kiss his boyfriend, murmuring against his lips, “Hey honey.”
Steve grinned, “Hello. You look gorgeous, Tony.”
“There’s no need for flattery, Rogers. You're getting laid tonight.” Steve smirks and backs Tony against the wall, nipping at the sweet spot behind Tony’s ear.
“Is ‘dat so? Why not hurry along the proceedings then, Tone?” Steve drawls as he dips into his Brooklyn accent, something that makes Tony weak at his knees.
“No! We are going up to have dinner and you’re going to behave yourself, Rogers,” Tony warns Steve, who briefly looks concerned at Tony’s vehemence before smirking and murmuring promises as he continues to tease at Tony’s neck. Fortunately, the elevator reached the rooftop at that point because Tony was ready to succumb to Steve’s masterful way of playing his body. Tony pushed Steve off, brushing himself back together as he took a deep breath to centre the nerves that once again flared up.
Steve cupped his face as he asked, “Hey, is everything okay?” Tony smiled as he internally cursed Steve’s ability to read him like a book.
“Everything’s perfect. Now come on, we have a dinner to enjoy!” Tony knew that Steve wasn’t buying it but fortunately for now, he let it go as they both reached the table and settled in for a nice, quiet night.
The dinner went smoothly but Tony couldn’t quite battle the nerves that would flare up suddenly. Steve who quickly realized something was wrong, demands, “What’s wrong, Tony?”
“Nothing’s wrong. Why do you think there’s something wrong, Steve? We are having a great time-“
“I- Hell Steve-“Tony gave up trying to talk his way out of this. It was time. “- I had an entire speech planned but I can’t remember any of it now… I love you Steve. You’re the best thing that has ever happened to me and ever since I met you, you affected me. To being consumed with anger because you’re so stubborn or love because I can’t stop staring at you and thinking wow, I am so in love with this man and what did I ever do to deserve you? So, I guess what I am trying to say is -“ shit shit fuck, I’m babbling, wrap it up Stark, come on you can do this, “- will you marry me?”
Throughout his entire speech, Tony stared into Steve’s eyes but because of his nerves and the need to get through this speech, possibly one of the most important ones he would ever say in his life, he didn’t notice Steve becoming paler as he continued to speak. As he reached the end of his speech, however, Steve stumbled back falling out of his chair. “No! Shit, Tony, I’m sorry but I can’t…” Steve struggled to get the words out and not wanting to see the heartbreak etched upon Tony’s face, Steve muttered a quick apology and ran back into the Tower.
Tony froze in shock at what just occurred and remained on one knee as Steve rushed off. He could hear the beat of his heart pounding, surrounding him. Tony begins to laugh bitterly as he straightened up and closed the box. What the fuck was he thinking? Marriage? He should of known from the get go, Tony Stark was not marriage material, a fact Steve had known from the beginning. After all, who would want to be hitched to Tony fucking Stark for the rest of their life? Steve obviously had the common sense to think ahead, he was the tactical expert in this relationship. Tony froze as he realized that maybe, after this there wouldn’t be a relationship. Steve probably no longer wanted to be saddled to Tony anymore. Then again, who would want to be? He was a fucked up alcoholic with oceans of blood on his hand. He was a means to an end, a way to past the time. He wasn’t someone you spent your life with. Ty told him once all those years ago but he made the mistake of thinking that he had changed. He wouldn’t do that again.
And it was this night - his four year anniversary - where Tony stared at the stars, with the candlelight shining in the corner of his eye that his heart broke.