The Fear of Being Alone

Title: The Fear of Being Alone

Series: None

Fandom: Avengers, Marvel Cinematic Universe,

Year: 2013

Category: Kid Fic, Hurt/Comfort, Established Relationship, Trope Bingo Round One

Ratings: Teen

Pairings: Tony Stark/Steve Rogers,

Spoilers: Entire MCU

Summary: The Avengers are called to fight against Loki, during the fight Tony disappears. When the fight is over and Steve heads back to the tower, he is so mad at Tony and he wants to know why he left.

Words: 5,683

Notes: For Round One ofTropeBingo. Coulson Lives.

Warnings:

Beta:

When Steve Rogers entered Avengers Tower, he was fit to be tied. Loki had been attacking Brooklyn and during the fight Iron Man had fled the scene. There had been no reason and no communication. He wanted to wring Tony’s head.

“JARVIS!” Steve screamed as he ripped off the cowl and threw it to the ground as he left the elevator on the communal floor. The door to Tony’s bedroom was shut but that didn’t stop Steve from barging into the room. It was empty. “JARVIS!”

“He’s not been answering,” Natasha said over the comm. “It’s been nearly an hour since I last was able to talk to him over the comms.”

“Thanks, Widow,” Steve answered as he pulled his ear piece out. He threw it onto the dining room table. There was only one other place that Tony would be. Steve turned on his heel and made his way to the lower floor access.

As Steve stalked down the stairs onto the lab floor he thought about the fight just a week before. Tony and he had been together for nearly six months when Steve had finally had enough of Tony not letting him fully in. The past week had been tense around the tower. Today had been the first day since the breakup that the Avengers had been called to duty. The start of the fight had all the Avengers on tiptoe. When Iron Man and Captain America were just like normal at the start, the rest of the team had relaxed and it had been fine. It wasn’t until the end of the fight that the rest of the team had moved back to being on tiptoes.

As Steve approached the lab door, he found it odd that it didn’t open. It always opened unless Tony was working on something sensitive. “JARVIS?” Steve called out again and the door to the lab opened.

“I am sorry Captain, for not replying sooner but I have been busy trying to take care of Sir.”

“Take care?” Steve stopped just inside the door. The Iron Man armor was not neatly put away wherever the robotic arms always put it. Instead it was in pieces all over the floor like it had just fallen off of Tony. That was not a good sign. It was never a good sign. The armor was Tony’s baby and he cared for it like he would a child. It was always put away and always taken care of. Steve started to calm down. Obviously something had happened. Tony just hadn’t said a word about what it was. The anger started to dissipate and it was replaced with worry. “JARVIS what happened?”

“I don’t know, Captain. I received a distress call from Sir just seconds before his armor sent him back to the Tower on its own to a compromisation. It landed here in the shop meaning that there is an armor malfunction. Sir was unable to communicate for several minutes but it’s all fine now. It seems that Loki tried to use some kind of magic on Sir and it backfired. I doubt this was his intended action or result.”

“Where is he?”

“That is the crux of the issue, Captain. After you arrived, I locked down the Avengers section of the tower. No one, not even Fury, will be able to access the tower. It seems that Sir got into my sensors and disabled them and then fled into the duct work.”

Steve stopped in his tracks of looking around the room. He looked up at the node that Tony usually looked at when speaking to JARVIS in the room. Tony in the ducts? He yelled at Clint for that all the time. This wasn’t making any sense.

“Ducts?”

“I am unsure of what Loki meant to do to Sir but it turned him into a seven year old boy. If my scans are correct. He could be older, I am unsure. Sir has talked about himself being small for his age as a child.”

“Seven…” Steve stopped. He slumped into the chair that Tony usually sat in while working on the computers. “He’s seven?”

“With all memories of Sir at that age and none after. From what I can gather. He does not remember me or even Dummy, who is now pouting in the corner.” Steve looked over to where Dummy usually went when pouting and found that Dummy was indeed in the corner. The bot was the picture of heart broken. Tony acted as though he didn’t like the bot most of the time but Steve knew that to be untrue. All three of his bots were the light of his life. “I locked the ducts as soon as he went into them so he is trapped on this floor, somewhere.”

“I am sure that he’s tucked away in one of Clint’s nests. When the other Avengers arrive, please let them. Tell them to take a jet and land on the roof.”

“Yes, Captain.” JARVIS fell silent and Steve moved to the ductwork entrance. Steve was too big to go into them. He would have to wait for Clint and Natasha.

“Tony?!” Steve yelled into the ducts. He didn’t know what to do. They had covered all eventualities, they thought. He wasn’t even sure that Coulson would do about this. “JARVIS, patch me through to Coulson.”

“Yes, Captain.” The AI went silent and then after a few minutes, “Captain, Agent Coulson is on your intercom.”

“Thanks.” Steve turned and ran from the room, finding his ear piece where he left it. He put in his ear. “Coulson.”

“Captain, what is going on? I am at the bottom of the Tower and it’s not letting me up.”

“JARVIS,” Steve said as he moved to the elevator. It only took a minute and Coulson was stepping into the floor of the tower. “We are on lockdown.”

“The rest of the rest of the Avengers will be on the roof in minutes.” Coulson looked calm but he could see the worry on the man’s face. It was hard to see but there it was.

“I want them to change. I want them in civvies.” Steve kept looking about the room, checking for a sighting of Tony.

“Captain what happened? Why did Stark flee?” Coulson followed Steve’s gaze around the room.

“The armor sensed a change in him and recalled itself to the Tower. When it arrived, it disassembled and there was a seven year old Tony inside. He freaked and destroyed JARVIS’s sensors before he fled to the ductwork. JARVIS locked down this floor of the Tower and we hope he is trapped here. I want Clint in the ductwork…”

“No,” Coulson interrupted. Steve turned to look at him with shock on his face. “He will just hide more. As a child Stark was very precocious. Do not corner him. The last time that anyone put him between a rock and a hard place, he came out in a suit of armor and blew them to hell.”

Steve stopped to consider it. He knew that about the man but he hadn’t stopped to consider it.

“You need to go about our business. Yes, put them in civvies and have them sit and watch something on the TV. I want you to stay in your outfit though,” Coulson moved to the theater room and turned on the TV. It was something funny on the screen. He sat down on the small loveseat.

“Why?” Steve asked.

“Howard Stark raised his son on the stories of Captain America. He could never measure up to you in his eyes. At the age of seven though, Stark shouldn’t be that jaded yet to where he shouldn’t resent you. If he sees the costume, he’ll think that he is safe. He might just come out and talk to you.”

The sound of the other Avengers entering the Tower pulled Steve’s eyes over to the roof entrance. They were already in civvies. Clint headed right to Coulson and the others followed. JARVIS must have updated them on what to do. Steve heard Coulson start to explain what was happening to the other Avengers. Steve stayed in the common room and looked around. Trying to figure out where Tony was.

Wandering around the floor of the Tower, Steve kept an ear open. There was nothing in the Tower that was from Tony’s past. This Tower was all new. Pepper was out of reach, Steve knew that. She was taking a vacation. She hadn’t even taken a phone with her and only Tony knew where she had gone. That location was now gone.

The sound of feet in a duct beside him had Steve stopping. He stopped and watched as a duct cover was removed and a small child dropped from the duct. The boy looked around and then started to raid a small shelf that snack foods were kept on. With Thor and Bruce around, snacks were a must to always have on hand. The boy couldn’t see him but Steve could see him. When Tony had his back fully to him, Steve made his move. He grabbed Tony by the waist and hauled him up. Tony screamed and started to fling his elbows backward. Steve heard grates lock into place in the ducts. Tony was now trapped out in the open. Steve was surprised not to hear the running feet of the others.

One of Tony’s elbows caught Steve hard enough to break his nose; he heard the crunch and dropped Tony at the same time. Tony scrambled back to the vent and Steve watched as he figured out that he couldn’t get back in. Tony ran to the hallway and to the bedrooms down that way. Steve started after him in time to catch the door to Tony’s room shutting. Steve threw it open before Tony could lock it.

“My dad is going to get you!” Tony yelled, he threw something at Steve and it wasn’t until Steve caught it, he found out it was replica of his first Arc Reactor that Pepper had created for him. As proof of Tony having a heart, even after the fiasco with Obadiah Stane. Tony stopped when he looked at Steve with full eyes. He gasped and seemed to shrink into himself.  “I’m sorry, Captain, Sir.”

“Tony, it is fine. Your father sent you here to protect you.” Steve knew he was lying but he didn’t know what else to do. He had to calm Tony down and he had to do it now.

“But you are not here!” Tony yelled. Steve sighed. Tony thought too quickly.

“Your father found me and before he could tell you, this happened.”

“Where am I?” Tony asked.

“This is where I live.” As long as Steve kept Tony talking there was hope. As long as Tony wasn’t able to think too hard on what Steve was saying he had chance to lie his ass off to the boy.

“Where’s the man in the ceiling?”

“He’s still here. He’s a technological marvel, isn’t he?” Steve asked. Tony was still looking at him like he didn’t trust him but he wasn’t throwing anything at him or trying to run. Steve stayed a great distance from him but he moved around the room to sit on the bed. JARVIS shut the door and Steve heard it lock. He was sure that it wouldn’t hold Tony for very long. He had learned to never underestimate Tony Stark and even if Tony was seven, he wasn’t going to start now. “He won’t hurt you.”

“I hurt him.” Tony inched towards Steve. He reached out with a hand and touched Steve’s knee. Like he was reassuring him that Steve really was there.

“He understands. You were scared. Lots of people hurt other people when they are scared. You were in a strange place and you got here before I could get back to meet you.” Steve didn’t move. He let Tony make all the moves. To fix this, they needed a cooperating Tony.

“Are you really Steve Rogers?” Tony asked. There was still skepticism in his voice but it was fading fast.

“Yes, I am.”

“How can I be sure?” Tony took a step back. “Tell me something that only Captain America would know.” He crossed his arms and stared Steve down.

“Your father was the one who gave me my shield. It was all silver when he gave it to me though.”

Tony’s eyes lit up and he moved closer again. “Who shot at you while you were holding it the first time?”

Steve didn’t answer as first. What had Howard told this child? “Peggy Carter did. She was made because she had caught me kissing another woman.”

Tony giggled. “That’s what Aunt Peggy told me,” Tony said and he reached out to trace the star on Steve’s chest. The ache at the mention of Peggy started up again. He had talked to her for the first time two months after the Battle of New York and his last time had been just two weeks before. She had never mentioned Tony before at all. Why had Tony never mentioned Peggy at all? “She said that you were the most frustrating man that she had ever met and that was before you became big.”

“I liked her from the moment I met her. She is a great woman.”

Tony looked away from him and started to look around the room. “She’ll be happy you were found. Who lives here?”

Steve wasn’t sure how to answer that.

“I think that you are safe to tell him, Captain.” JARVIS’s voice spoke in his ear. “I don’t want to alarm you but I have my sensors working again and it seems that Sir is the same.” Steve waited for the AI to speak more but he didn’t. Steve wondered what he meant when he saw it. He had gotten used to it and hadn’t paid any attention. Tony’s chest was glowing. He still had the Arc Reactor. Steve’s heart leapt to his throat. How was he going to explain that to him?

“Master Tony,” JARVIS spoke. Tony jumped and looked around but he didn’t do anything. “Your father has a message for you. Do you wish me to play it?”

“Yes…”

“My name is JARVIS.”

“My butler is named Jarvis. Yes, JARVIS, please play it!” Tony practically yelled.

“Tony,” Howard’s voice spoke over the intercom. “I know that you are scared but you are safe with Captain America and his friends. Obie and I are busy doing some things. Your mother will come to you as soon as possible but she is very busy as well. I know that you don’t remember how you got there but you were injured. You will find a device on your chest. I created that to heal you.” Howard’s voice paused and Tony pulled at the neck of his shirt to look down it. His eyes widened his shock. “JARVIS will explain more. Remember Tony, you are safe.”

Steve thought it odd that JARVIS hadn’t had Howard tell Tony he loved him. He knew that the relationship between the two Starks had been strained but this…

Tony pulled his shirt over his head, throwing it to the side and fingered at the tiny Arc Reactor. It wasn’t thankfully not adult sized but warped to be Tony’s current size. Tony looked up at Steve in shock.

“That’s why your mom, dad, and Obie couldn’t be here. They are dealing with what happened to you.” Steve hoped that something didn’t happen to make Steve a liar.

“I hope that you get to smash their heads in,” Tony gushed. Steve picked up his shirt and helped Tony put it back on. He hoped that Bruce could come up with a story that would explain the Arc Reactor to the child Tony and not scare him with the truth of why it was there.

“Why don’t we get you something to eat?”

“Okay!” Tony ran to the door and Steve was happy to hear the lock release before Tony got to the door. Steve heard Tony’s footsteps as he ran down the hall, only to stop long before he got to the common room. Steve quickly exited the room and found Tony staring at Natasha, who was standing in the hall. She waggled her fingers at him and crouched down to his level. She had a smile on his face that Steve had only ever seen with children around her.

“My name is Natasha. I am one of Steve’s friends.”

“You are very pretty,” Tony said as he reached out to touch her hair. She smiled at him as she straightened herself up and held out a hand for him to grasp. She led him to the common room table where the others were seated down to eat. It was a dinner of pizza. There was a seat for Tony right beside where Natasha sat down and beside Tony there was an empty seat for Steve. Steve sat down as Natasha introduced Tony to all of them. Tony looked at them all in wonder.

Dinner was spent full of questions as Bruce explained that the Arc Reactor was helping his body heal. Tony bombarded him with question after question about it. Steve was glad for JARVIS. They would have all be lost without him there. It was nearly dark when Tony finally stopped asking questions. Clint, Bruce, and Coulson had left to go shopping. Steve wasn’t sure what they were going to get but when they returned later with a great deal of bags and Steve heard the service elevator ding, he stood to figure it out. Natasha kept an eye on Tony while he did.

He found all three of them in his room. Bruce was setting up a child sized bed beside his own. Clint was in the bathroom while Coulson was emptying the bottom drawer of Steve’s dresser of all clothes and putting smaller clothes inside of it.

“All of JARVIS’s scans are inconclusive. We don’t want to draw blood on him yet, so for now you, Steve, are grounded from active missions. You can direct from here but he doesn’t want you out in the field. You are on Stark duty,” Coulson said as he turned to look at Steve. He threw something at Steve, who caught it and looked at it. It was a set of sweatpants for children. They looked to be the size needed for Tony. “JARVIS thinks if best if he stays in your room. He’s become attached to you.”

“So no idea how this happened?”

“It was Loki,” Thor said from the doorway. “I can see his magics all over it. I do not know why he has done this.”

“Its okay, Big Guy,” Steve said as he clasped Thor’s shoulder. “We’ll get through this.”

Thor nodded and went back to the common area, taking Bruce and Clint with him. Coulson was the only one left.

“Stark’s file…If he had been a weaker man, he wouldn’t be anything like he is today. There is so much missing from his file. There are psychological guesses that he had a horrid childhood.” Coulson shut the bedroom door and turned back to Steve, who felt his stomach drop to his feet at the look on Coulson’s face. “Howard Stark was a drunk for many years before Tony was born. He was a drunk until the day that he died. He was able to hide it from the public and Maria, his wife, spent a great deal of time outside of the home. She had her functions and her charities. There was a butler, Jarvis, who raised Tony. He died from heart problems when Stark was twenty five.”

“I see.”

“Stark’s own drinking problems stem from his father’s. I can’t predict what will happen. I don’t know how tonight is going to go.”

“He never told me any of this,” Steve said.

“Why would he?” Coulson asked. Steve looked at him. Coulson worshipped the ground that he walked on and he was used to hearing that tone of voice being directed at Tony but not at himself. “Your first meeting with him had you comparing him to his father and finding him lacking. Those first six months were just as bad. You brought up his father, the man who had never told Stark that he loved him.”

“Never?” Steve asked.

“Never. His mother said it and meant it but she was never around. He spent his time learning all he knows at his father’s knee. Why he even tried to have a relationship you, I’ll never know. It surprised Miss Potts to no end and when it ended, she was the one to try and pick up the pieces. Then her vacation came up. I am sure that you will be getting an earful when she gets back.”

“I…” Steve stopped. Coulson took that as his cue to leave, leaving the door open behind him. Before Steve could think anymore, Tony was walking into the room with Bruce behind him.

“We have tomorrow, little guy,” Bruce said. Steve could tell that Tony was tired. “He was asleep out there leaning against Natasha.”

“Why don’t we get you changed?” Steve held up the sweat pants and shirt and Tony took it from him, looking around and finding the bathroom.

“If you need anything, Steve. Just let us know. We are all going to stay in the Tower tonight, just to be safe.”

Steve put Tony to bed; the boy fell asleep almost instantly. Steve himself stayed up sitting on his bed watching the young boy sleep. He had a lot to think about.

xXxXxXx

Steve wasn’t sure when he fell asleep but he woke to the sound of a screaming child. Steve rolled out of the bed and found Tony thrashing on the bed. Steve sat down on the bed and touched Tony’s arm. Just the touch and Tony was calming down. Steve said nothing just sat there, rubbing Tony’s arm. After ten minutes, Tony was deep asleep.

“Cherish this time, Captain,” a voice said. Steve turned quickly and there by the window was Loki. “I respect the Man of Iron. His broken heart called to me. I am giving you one week to fix him.”

“Fix him?”

“Show him that not everyone is going to hurt him.” Loki smiled and then was gone in a flash of green. Steve thought about alerting the others but it wouldn’t do any good. Loki was untraceable.

Steve let himself relax and kept an eye out all night. Tony deserved protection.

xXxXxXx

Steve knew that adult Tony was a handful. That was given with the name of Stark but as a child? Tony was ten times worse. He was a sponge. He figured out how to bypass the digitized locks on all the doors and made it into his lab and workshop just a half an hour after breakfast the next morning. The frantic look around the room as he noticed it was too quiet in the room. The open door and finding Tony in the room, playing ball with Dummy was enough to nearly give Steve a heart attack. Butterfingers and You were watching on the side lines.

“It’s best to let him down here. This is as safe as anywhere else inside the Tower. Doctor Banner is using a retinal scanner on his lab door. I hope that Sir is unable to bypass that.”

“He’s a lot smarter than I ever guessed. I knew that adult Tony was smart but child Tony…”

“From the records I have access to; Mr. Stark never stopped Sir when he was younger. There were no bounds on what he was allowed to do. It was part of his way of dealing with not having to deal with a child.”

“You know, Howard was a great man when I knew him.”

“He stayed a great man till the day he died. He was just a horrible father.” JARVIS spoke softly; his voice coming out of the computer at Steve’s left. Steve nodded at his words and watched as Tony played.

That lasted an hour before Tony grew bored of playing with the robots and moved to tinkering with the machines that were lying on table tops all over the room. Steve watched with a close eye but he didn’t know anything about any of the parts in the room. He wasn’t even sure what half of the things in the room were much less what they did.

“Captain Rogers, duck!” JARVIS yelled. Steve reacted as soon as the words registered he ducked down but it still wasn’t fast enough. The brunt of a repulsor blast caught him and threw him against the wall. He shook it off and caught Tony as the boy ran at him.

“I’m fine,” Steve said as he pulled Tony close. Tony was crying.

“I’m sorry, Steve. I was just playing.” Tony wouldn’t let Steve’s neck go. Steve could feel the tears soaking his shirt.

“It’s fine. JARVIS?” Steve wanted to know why JARVIS hadn’t warned him about what Tony was messing with.

“I am sorry Captain. Sir had been unable to that particular machine working again. I did not figure that Master Tony would be able to do it.”

“I’m a Stark. Of course I can fix it!” Tony proclaimed loudly, the tears drying up on his face.

Steve wondered briefly how adult Tony would feel about a child fixing what he couldn’t.

xXxXxXx

Three days later, Steve was ready to pull his hair out. Tony had seemed to settle in but Bruce had been wary. No one else thought anything of it, just Bruce being wary of everything.

The fourth day of Tony’s transformation dawned early, even for Steve. Tony still had nightmares every single night. They woke Steve from a dead sleep but Tony never hinted at what he dreamed about.

Today was different. Tony was muttering in his sleep.

“No, Dad, please don’t.” Tony whispered, like a half remembered dream.

Steve moved over to Tony’s bed and sat on it. He wasn’t expecting Tony to fly out of the bed. Tony stared at him with wide, wild eyes. He was breathing heavy and looking for an escape. Steve stopped and stayed where he was. JARVIS was thankfully silent as Steve watched the boy. Steve had never seen the look of terror that was on Tony’s face before. He had seen adult Tony face off against terrible odds and this look never even came close to being on his face. Steve’s hand moved towards Tony, who just stared at the hand and when took off running. Tony could move fast when he needed to and even Clint and Natasha couldn’t catch him if he wanted.

This was no different. Steve was out of the room and found Clint lying on his ass, rubbing the back of his head while staring at the door to the lab.

“Go, man. He did not look all right.”

Steve nodded and started down the stairs, taking them two and three at a time. He didn’t see evidence of Tony and the lights were still out. The robots were still at their charging stations where they stayed at night, especially now that Tony wasn’t up all hours of the night working.

The slight sound of hitching breaths was the only thing that led Steve to Tony. He found Tony under a table, as far back as he could get, curled into a ball and crying.

“Tony, please come out,”

“No!” Tony yelled back at him. He didn’t move so the sound was muffled, but Steve understood him

“Tony, what’s wrong?”

“Dad is going to be so mad.”

“Howard is not going to be mad at you,” Steve tried to placate but Tony just looked up at him with anger in his eyes. “Why would he need to be mad at you?”

“I’ve not done anything. I’ve been lazing around and he hates that. I am a Stark, I need to be in school.”

“No, Tony. I’ve told you this. You were sick and he wants you to be all better before you go back. You start school again in three days remember.”

Tony looked at Steve like he was lying but he didn’t say anything. Not at first. “He got mad when I got sick the last time and Mom didn’t want me in the lab. He got so mad at me that he slapped me, telling me to get better.”

It was in that instant where Steve regretted nearly every interaction that he and Tony had in the first few weeks after the Avengers had been thrown together. He had constantly compared Tony to his father and Tony always came up lacking. No matter how made Tony got at anyone, he was never violent with them. Tony hated it when anyone raised a hand to anyone, especially children. A good bit of who Tony was now made sense.

Steve touched Tony’s arm and gently pulled the boy out. He carried Tony up the stairs and they sat on the couch, watching TV until the sun came up. Natasha had popped in at one time on her way to a meet with a contact and when she had come back with a teddy bear for him. Tony clutched at it like it was a life line.

xXxXxXx

The final days were uneventful and the Avengers laid Tony down to sleep in his own bed and took turns watching him in the night to wait for the change. It came at dawn, during Steve’s watch after his early run. Tony woke up just minutes after aging back to his correct age.

When Tony woke up with no memory of the past week, Steve and the others were very happy. Coulson already had a story about him being knocked in the head and being in a coma for a week. He had been moved back to his bedroom just hours before he woke up.

Everything went smooth for a few weeks. Tony took the story of him being in a coma at their words and went on with his life. He fought with the other Avengers like nothing had happened. Steve barely existed to him except when the Avengers had business. It was life as normal or as normal as it could be. It was hard to live with knowing about Tony’s past with his father and not want to kick himself for how he had acted that lead to the breakup.

Tucked away in a corner of Steve’s room was the teddy bear that Natasha had got for Tony. It sat there to remind Steve about what he had lost. Tony was worth ten of his father on a bad day and a hundred of his father on a good day. Steve spent weeks finding out all he could about Tony’s childhood and Howard as a father. The more he found out, the more that he grew to dislike his now dead friend.

Tony was good at dropping in at the wrong times and Steve happened to have an article about the wreck up when Tony came into Steve’s room one night. Tony hadn’t done that since the breakup and he was shocked to find the older man there.

“I figured you would have read about that by now,” Tony said as he tapped the screen of the tablet and the article popped onto the glass screen on the wall. Tony looked at the article for a few seconds before snorting and moving to the bed.

“I had, I was just looking at something in it.” Steve closed down the tablet and set it on the desk, turning to face Tony. “What can I do for you?”

“I had the strangest dream last night.”

“Really?” Steve asked. Tony used to come to him to talk, before their relationship started. It was part of why it had started in the first place. He wondered why Tony was coming to him now. Tony didn’t say anything. His eyes were locked on the teddy bear. He stood up and went to pick it up. He touched the face of the bear like he was touching something so fragile even a puff of air could break it. It broke Steve’s heart to see it.

“Yes. Pepper thinks I ate too much Thai before going to bed. I dreamed I was a kid again and here in the Tower. I had the Arc Reactor and everything. Everyone was here and it’s exactly like the Tower is now. Even this guy was in it.” Tony raised the bear up to show Steve. “I tried to remember myself when I was that young but the time doesn’t fit and then I remembered something that wasn’t in the dream. I remember being a child in the armor. I remember the flight. I don’t know how you guys thought that you could keep it from me.”

“Coulson had JARVIS delete the footage. We didn’t think that you could access it.”

“And JARVIS was hoping that I wouldn’t want to look at the footage of you guys moping around while I was in a coma. The footage from the Tower is stored for one month. Today was the day that it was ready for deletion. JARVIS tried to talk me out of it. I, of course, went ahead.”

“Tony…” Steve tried to say but Tony just looked at him.

“I am taking a few days. Coulson has already cleared it and I leave in a few minutes. I’ll be in Malibu if something happens.”

Tony turned and quickly left. Steve thought about going after him but Tony needed time. Steve hadn’t given him time before but now Steve would give him all the time in the world. Steve had fallen in love with the child that Tony had been and doing that, he found that he could love the man that Tony was now.

The End

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