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Thread Contributor: 616 Tony StarkThis Isn't Awkward At All
Marvel-616

287 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 435
Points: 2,886.52€
#1
Considering that Steve lived at the Mansion, and spent plenty of time there--with Christian, not that it mattered--Tony had, so far, managed to avoid running into him in any situation where neither of them could make a hasty exit.

It was, admittedly, a little childish. But ever since the other Tony had kissed Steve, and forced him to admit his feelings to him, he hadn't known what to say to him at all. He wanted to apologize, except there wasn't anything to apologize for, at least not when it came to that. Of course, he knew Steve hadn't been happy with how he'd kept things about the future to himself, or that Tony couldn't look at him without seeing a man ten years older. A man who had died hating him, leaving him with a mess of complicated feelings that kept forcing their way to the surface at the worst of times. But there wasn't much he could do about any of that either, and while he could apologize, he didn't especially want to have any of the conversations that could follow.

All of which made avoiding Steve the easiest path by far.

He was taking the Mansion's elevator down to the lab when the doors dinged open and Steve walked in. Tony gave him an awkward half-smile as the doors closed. He could handle, oh, thirty seconds of conversation.

"Going to the gym?" he asked as the elevator descended.

Before Steve could answer, though, there was a horrible grinding noise and the elevator stopped short. Extremis told Tony immediately that it was stuck between floors, a mechanical problem that no amount of technopathy could solve.

He stared at Steve, and said, "Shit."
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Marvel-616 Universe

265 Posts
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Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
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#2
Steve was feeling restless. He was still waiting for Mr. Stark to create the portal so he could save Bucky, and every minute ticked by with agonizing slowness. He was tempted to go find Mr. Stark and ask him how much longer, but he can't imagine that ending well. Since their last argument, where Tony made it perfectly clear that he couldn't look at Steve without seeing a dead man and had no plans to even try changing that, it was fair to say the two had working hard to keep things polite but distant between them. It was not ideal, but Steve was in no mood to have any heart to heart with Mr. Stark any time soon.

Deciding that a few hours in the gym was exactly what he needed to take the edge off the restlessness, Steve grabbed his gym bag and headed to the escalator. The doors slid open. Mr. Stark stood inside and made no move to get out. If it wasn't so childish Steve would have waited for the next one, but that would be beneath him. He can handle 30 seconds alone with Mr. Stark. He stepped inside and returned Mr. Stark's smile.

"Going to the gym?" Mr. Stark asks.

Before Steve can reply the elevator shuddered to a halt with a terrible shriek.

"Did the elevator just break?" Steve asked. It was a stupid question, but Steve couldn't imagine anything that was built by Mr. Stark actually breaking. He may be reevaluating the type of man Mr. Stark is, but he has never doubted the man's skill as a mechanic.

"Can you fix it?" Steve asked.
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Marvel-616

287 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 435
Points: 2,886.52€
#3
Tony rolled his eyes at Steve's question. "No, it was supposed to do that," he said irritably. He couldn't even see where the problem was exactly, because anything outside of the circuits that made the elevator run a as programmed were completely opaque to him. Could be a problem with the cable or motor or shaft, or something else, not that that was very useful.

"I can't fix it," he admitted, then gestured vaguely as he elaborated. "Not from in here, anyway. If I knew where the problem was and could reach it, maybe, but we're stuck between floors. But I can send out a message." That was the reasonable thing to do, anyway. There was always the option of climbing out of the elevator and scaling the shaft, which was probably not worth it to avoid taking to Steve. Probably. He let out a sigh. "Are you in a hurry?"
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Marvel-616 Universe

265 Posts
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Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
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#4
Steve frowns, not appreciating the sarcasm. Like the situation wasn't annoying and awkward enough, he didn't need Mr. Stark's sass making it worse.

His frown only deepens when Mr. Stark admits that he can't fix it. There's a small trap door on the ceiling of the elevator, Steve is sure that he could open it and climb to the floor above and get out, but he doubts Mr. Stark would be able to follow him. And it didn't seem fair to leave a man behind.

"I've got nowhere else to be." Steve shrugs, "I can wait for the Calvary to arrive."

Steve shoves his hands in his pockets and leans against the wall, while they quickly descend into an awkward silence.
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Marvel-616

287 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 435
Points: 2,886.52€
#5
Tony watched Steve glance up at the trapdoor on the elevator, frowning and clearly considering it, before settling in to wait. Tony was surprised, since the Steve he remembered would go through great physical lengths--including scaling an elevator shaft--to avoid an awkward conversation. He wondered if maybe he'd been reading this young Steve wrong, if the unpleasantness between them was mostly in his own mind. He hadn't thought so, but it was hard to tell sometimes. His Steve had used to tell him he got too much inside his own head, guessing and second-guessing other people's intentions.

He closed his eyes for a moment, using Extremis to send out a message. When that was done, he opened them, and looked at Steve, casting about for conversation. He settled on the one thing he knew Steve was interested in, keeping his voice even to signal that he was far past his original near-breakdown. "So, uh. Haven't seen you around much these days. How're things with Chris?"
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Marvel-616 Universe

265 Posts
6 Threads
Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
Job: Soldier/Avenger
Ship Status: Single
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Becky

All Accounts Posts: 301
Points: 2,074.87€
#6
Steve watches Mr. Stark with vague interest. Although he has had extremis explained to him, he still can't fully wrap his mind around it.

Steve tenses when Mr. Stark starts talking. Can't they both just enjoy the silence?

"I've been busy." Steve shrugs. And it's true, planning Bucky's rescue has taken up just about all of Steve's available time.

"And Christian is good last I spoke to him." Steve says. He does feel a bit bad, it's been more than a few days and Steve hasn't checked up on Christian. He really should see how he's doing after he's done rescuing Bucky. That will be nice. He thinks Bucky and Christian will get along swell.
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Marvel-616

287 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 435
Points: 2,886.52€
#7
Busy. Sure. Good last hed seen him. Right. Tony had been blown off enough in his life--not a whole lot, but enough--to read a very clear "fuck off" in Steve's words and tone.

It made Tony want to needle. That kind of thing always had. Not to mention, he was making an effort here. To be polite and civil and make the most of being stuck in a damn box together.

He stared at Steve again. It was odd, really, how used to seeing those features again he'd grown over the past few months, thanks to his time with Safi. Except that this face was impossibly young.

It hit him all at once, that what they were doing was absurd. They had no history or baggage it irreconcilable beliefs, yet. Not like he and his Steve had by the end. And more than anything, more than he dreaded the lingering awkwardness or resented the fact that every other Tony Stark in the multiverse had apparently had with Steve what he never would, he just missed being friends.

The snarky retort he'd been planning died on his tongue. "We should talk," he said instead, seriously, folding his arms and leaning against the railing, trying to look nonchalant. He wondered vaguely if Steve would climb up the elevator shaft after all, and supposed he couldn't put it past him.
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Marvel-616 Universe

265 Posts
6 Threads
Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
Job: Soldier/Avenger
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation:
Becky

All Accounts Posts: 301
Points: 2,074.87€
#8
Mr. Stark is staring at him, and he doesn't like it. It makes his shoulders itch and he wants to fidget. He keeps himself still, though. He is nothing, if not good at hiding his emotions under a stoic veneer.

"We should talk." Mr. Stark says. Steve tenses and glances up at the elevator hatch. Suddenly the idea of scaling the elevator shaft doesn't seem so bad.

"About what?" Steve asks neutrally. His mind races. Does Mr. Stark know about his plan to rescue Bucky? Is he going to try to stop him? Or worse, are they going to have an emotional talk?
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Marvel-616

287 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 435
Points: 2,886.52€
#9
Steve looked uncomfortable. Worse, he looked like Steve looked when he was uncomfortable and pretending not to be, complete with a not so subtle glance at the elevator hatch. Tony resisted the urge to point out that he knew him better than that, because the last thing he needed was for Steve to get uncomfortable over that, too.

He wondered, for a moment, if this was a horrible idea. On the other hand, it wasn't like that usually stopped him. In any case, part of the reason he was in the Hub in the first place was to deal with this, this being Steve and Steve's death and all his unreciprocated feelings. He couldn't afford to run away from those problems too.

He took a deep breath, and said, "Look, Steve. I never meant for you to find out about how I... What I wanted from the other you. I didn't ever want him to know either, to be honest. Anyway. I'm sorry about that. And I'm sorry I didn't tell you more about the future. It was selfish, and I guess I should have known you'd find out anyway. So, that's it. I, uh... I just thought you should know that."

It wasn't really all he wanted to say, but it also felt like too much. He folded his arms and waited for Steve to climb out the hatch after all.
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Marvel-616 Universe

265 Posts
6 Threads
Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
Job: Soldier/Avenger
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation:
Becky

All Accounts Posts: 301
Points: 2,074.87€
#10
Mr. Stark starts talking and Steve can't help it, but he laughs.

"Mr. Stark, I'm not upset because you wanted to sleep with me at some point in our friendship. Believe it or not your not the first person who's wanted that." Steve says, "besides you fell in love with a different Steve Rogers."

Steve shakes his head, of all the things for Mr. Stark to be worried about...Steve gets more serious for the second half of the what Mr. Stark is saying, because the lying about his future did bother him.

"It was selfish. I wish you had trusted me. I guess I just don't understand. You talk as if we had some great friendship, but how could we have, when we apparently didn't even trust each other?" Steve asks.
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Marvel-616

287 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 435
Points: 2,886.52€
#11
Steve laughed at him, which was just...great. Tony had learned a long time ago how to keep from showing his embarrassment, but it was a close thing. Even more so because Steve had it wrong.

Not about other friends of Steve's wanting to sleep with him, because it was pretty much impossible that that wasnt true. No, what Steve had wrong was that, while sex with Steve had obviously been part of the appeal, it wasn't like Tony hadn't loved Steve early on. He remembered late nights with--not a man who looked like this Steve, but THIS Steve--laughing and talking and sitting around the common area of the Mansion. This Steve teaching him to fight, laughing when he pinned Tony to the mat because there'd both seen it coming. This Steve sad and haunted sometimes, but having a genuine smile for him when Iron Man squeezed his shoulder and said something to take his mind off everything he'd lost.

And that was the problem. Tony couldn't possibly separate this Steve from the one he'd known, because this Steve and Tony's Steve were one and the same.

Tony shook his head slowly, because the answer to Steve's question was in that truth. "The day we pulled you out of the ice was the best day of my life," he said quietly. "You, Steve. And Iron Man, the younger me that you left behind... I already loved you then. It WAS selfish. I'll admit that. But I knew that if you found out everything, you'd hate me, and I couldn't handle that."
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Marvel-616 Universe

265 Posts
6 Threads
Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
Job: Soldier/Avenger
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation:
Becky

All Accounts Posts: 301
Points: 2,074.87€
#12
Steve flushes a bit. He hadn't meant to laugh at Mr. Stark and he could see by the way his eyes darkened that it hurt more than he was letting on.

"The best day of his life" he said, which was a bit hard to believe. Mr. Stark has a list of accomplishments longer than Steve's arm, and he never would have guessed that finding an old soldier at the bottom of ocean ranked particularly high. And the idea that perhaps Iron Man loved him even then, or maybe had fallen in love not long after, was even harder to believe.

"Why didn't you say anything then?" Steve asks, "or later. We knew each other for years."
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Marvel-616

287 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 435
Points: 2,886.52€
#13
As Tony watched Steve's reaction, he couldn't shake the slightly sick feeling of having said too much. Steve just looked... Skeptical. Like the idea that Tony had felt anything so powerful for him was laughable. Or distasteful, maybe. Tony wondered if he'd made that bad of an impression.

"I didn't say anything," Tony said slowly, understand why he had to spell this out when it should have been obvious, "because you were one of my best friends. And I knew you'd never--" he broke off, staring at the floor as it hit him, again, that never had been right. "I wouldn't put that on you. Make you uncomfortable. Make you let me down easy, you know. That was selfish too. Didn't want to lose your friendship."
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Marvel-616 Universe

265 Posts
6 Threads
Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
Job: Soldier/Avenger
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation:
Becky

All Accounts Posts: 301
Points: 2,074.87€
#14
Mr. Stark looks away and though Steve tries to meet his eyes, Mr. Stark avoids his. A well of conflicting emotions bubbles up inside of Steve; guilt for not figuring out Mr. Stark's feelings on his own and anger that Mr. Stark had believed that Steve would have ended a friendship over this. Steve didn't know what his future self's feelings were towards Mr. Stark. Maybe he loved him, maybe not, but he knew he would have never ended a friendship over it. Didn't Mr. Stark know him better than that?

Steve lets the anger go. For all he knows his future self may be a real jerk who said or did something that made Mr. Stark think like that.

"I'm sorry." Steve says, not fully sure what he's apologizing for. He just hopes it makes Mr. Stark look a little less crushed.

"In the few months of knowing Iron Man...you, I guess... You were quickly becoming my best friend. I think I was beginning to feel something more. I don't know... I ended up here and then things got confusing," Steve says honestly, "though if you do love me like you say, why did you not want to tell me how I died so I could avoid it?"
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Marvel-616

287 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 435
Points: 2,886.52€
#15
Tony looked up sharply as Steve apologized. If all the reactions Steve might have had... he certainly hadn't expected that one. But then, Steve probably just thought he was pathetic, and felt sorry for him. That was the kind of thing Steve might do.

As Steve kept talking, though, Tony could barely believe what he was hearing. A vague roaring filled his ears. Steve had felt... something? Or he might have.

It seemed impossible, and Tony wanted to laugh and cry at the fact of it. A decade's worth of missed opportunities.

"Steve, you..." Tony was so rarely lost for words, but he said there anyway, blank. Then he shook his head. Whatever Steve had been feeling, he'd spoken of it in the past tense. Clearly, coming here and meeting Tony had ruined whatever Steve had felt for Iron Man. "You have nothing to be sorry for," he managed finally. But you really--I mean, before you came here--you thought of me that way?" He couldn't meet Steve's eyes anymore, and mumbled, "No. Forget it. It doesn't matter. And I've told you why. It's too dangerous to change the past. Fabric of reality stuff. I can't change what happened, Steve. No matter how much I want to. No matter how much I'd give of myself."
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Marvel-616 Universe

265 Posts
6 Threads
Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
Job: Soldier/Avenger
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation:
Becky

All Accounts Posts: 301
Points: 2,074.87€
#16
Steve had hoped apologizibg would help the situation. He was wrong. Mr. Stark now looks to be on the verge of tears and Steve is internally panicking. This is swerving into dangerously emotional territory and maybe going out the hatch would have been the better plan.

"I don't know what I felt. Everything was so new and you were so nice to me" Steve says, "I liked that."

This conversation is far too emotional. Steve latches on to the only part of the conversation that feels less intimidating than talking about his feelings; his death. "But me being here and knowing your secret identity already will change the past." Steve says, "me knowing I'm going to be killed also changes my future, your past."
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Marvel-616

287 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 435
Points: 2,886.52€
#17
"Right," Tony said tonelessly, as Steve explained why he might have confused his his feelings for for romantic ones. Tony had been nice to him. That was true enough. He swallowed down the disappointment as the heady feeling of--what, hope?-- fade away as quickly as it had come. It was moot anyway. If there had ever been a chance, he'd missed it by ten years.

Still, the way Steve had said "I liked that" left something clenched up painfully in his chest.

"There's a difference," he said, because his ability to multitask extended to drawn out emotional breakdowns. "A portal opens on its own, it opens. That's a part of spacetime. It's stable. Trying to change the past, that's something else." He took a long breath, and added, "I could have, Cap. Before the Hub. Reed's figured out time travel before. I could have... I could have tried. But I didn't, because no one should have that much power. No one should change the past just because they're not happy with their present. You know who changes the past for their own gain? Supervillains."
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Marvel-616 Universe

265 Posts
6 Threads
Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
Job: Soldier/Avenger
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation:
Becky

All Accounts Posts: 301
Points: 2,074.87€
#18
Steve looks guilty. He hadn't meant to upset Mr. Stark like this. If things had been different, if he hadn't left, maybe they could have had something good. It's such a shame that they seem to have missed their chance.

"But a portal opened up to bring me here...does that mean it's stable and I can just go back through it to go home?" Steve asks hopefully, perhaps things weren't as ruined as he thought.

"But what am I going to do when I go home? I can't just forget everything I learned here and who knows how that will influence my choices." Steve says, "unless you're saying now that I'm here, I can't leave."
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Marvel-616

287 Posts
9 Threads
Age:35
Job: Director of SHIELD
Ship Status: Open to shipping
Sexual Orientation: Sure, with just about anyone (but I don't want to write it explicitly)
Jasmine (starkly-tony)

All Accounts Posts: 435
Points: 2,886.52€
#19
Tony closed his eyes for a moment, pinching the bridge of his nose. He couldn't understand how every conversation with Steve seemed to go this way-- arguing over the best way to do something. During the war he'd thought, in the back of his mind, that maybe Steve had changed. That he was more inflexible or that maybe he just didn't care that much for Tony's opinion anymore. But the fact that he couldn't seem to get five words out without ending up in the same exact place with young Steve, well. That told him that perhaps Steve hadn't been the one who'd changed after all.

Still, he answered, because he couldn't NOT.

"That depends on the portal, doesn't it? I thought yours was stable, but I could be wrong." He'd done as much looking into it as he could without actually going to Steve's quarters or talking to him. "That's not the point. Obviously you can't forget what you've done. But going back with knowledge, well, if I have to get into it theoretically-- what you learn at random will cancel out. You, and anyone else who goes back in time. Sure, you might do something differently, but none of your choices are pushing events in any particular direction. And even if you do accidentally go a new way, well, someone else might do the same in the opposite direction. The average effect is still stable across space time. But when you start trying to change things, that's a different story. That's dangerous." He let out a long sigh. "Believe me, if I could have gone back to save you, I would have. You dying--that was the one thing I couldn't live with."
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Marvel-616 Universe

265 Posts
6 Threads
Age:27 or 99 depending on how you define "age"
Job: Soldier/Avenger
Ship Status: Single
Sexual Orientation:
Becky

All Accounts Posts: 301
Points: 2,074.87€
#20
Going around in circles with Mr. Stark is exhausting. Has it always been this exhausting being Mr. Stark's friend? Maybe that's why they had their falling out; they were both just too stubborn to be friends anymore.

Mr. Stark thought his portal was stable, meaning he could have gone home at any time and nobody had told him. Was that an accidental oversight that nobody had told him, or just another way to keep him in the dark about everything? Steve frowns, he had trusted Iron Man with his life, but now it seems like everything had been a lie or at least a carefully worded half truth. That stung more than Steve cares to admit.

"Believe me, if I could have gone back to save you, I would have. You dying--that was the one thing I couldn't live with."

Steve wants to laugh bitterly at that. He knows all about not being able to live while the people you cared about died, but somehow finding a way to live anyway. He also knows the feeling if desperation that comes with the realization that you can, despite all odds, save them anyway. Steve would move mountains to save Bucky. He is even willing to risk all of time for him. Maybe Mr. Stark is being honest when he says he loves Steve. Despite everything, Steve does believe him, but he clearly doesn't love the same way Steve does. It's a shame really, they could have been good together, but they just don't fit quite right.

"We'll Mr. Stark, I don't think there's really anything left to say for either of us to say." Steve says.
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