“Good morning my beautiful husband.” The words were whispered into the skin just behind Tony’s ear, followed with a kiss to the same spot. “Did you know you’re my husband, now?”
Tony couldn’t help but let the sleepy smile tug at the corner of his mouth. “I don’t see how I could forget since you’ve told me every morning for the two weeks since the wedding.” Steve tightened the arm he had wrapped around Tony’s waist, pulling them closer together. Tony pretended to squirm; they both knew he was more than happy to stay curled up in Steve’s arms forever.
“I’m excited. Not every day you get to marry your best friend.”
“I s’posse.” After a languid yawn and a stretch, Tony rolled over in Steve’s arms so they were laying face to face. “Good morning husband,” he greeted, pressing a close-lipped kiss to Steve’s mouth. “You’re uncharacteristically chipper today. To what do I owe the pleasure of waking up to a not-grumpy Steve?”
“I’m not that bad in the morning.”
“On the second day of the honeymoon you threatened divorce because I woke you up before ten,” Tony reminded, kissing Steve’s nose in assurance that he was only teasing. “So I once again ask, to what do I owe the pleasure?”
“Last night was the first night we came home and slept in our bed.”
“We’ve shared a bed for six years, Steve. This is not news.” Tony loved giving Steve a hard time but, the truth was, he knew exactly where Steve was coming from. It was the first time they had been in their home since the wedding. The first time they’d crawled under the all too familiar sheets, gravitated towards each other in the enormous bed, and fell asleep as husbands.
It seemed that Steve was about to retort when there was a frantic knocking at the door. Groaning, Steve flopped onto his back and covered his eyes with his forearm.
“Go away we’re having sex,” he snapped at the poor soul on the other side of the door.
“No you’re not,” Sam hollered back. “I hate that I know this, but your sex sounds totally different.”
“We’re trying something new!”
“Yes, there’s the morning Steve I’m so used to,” Tony chided, patting Steve on the chest. He threw back the covers and, wearing nothing but the boxers he’d slept in, walked to open the door. “Mornin’ sunshine. We were sharing a moment of matrimonial bliss in here, so whatever this is, it better be important. Another wormhole above Manhattan important.”
“No wormhole. Anymore, at least.”
At that Steve sat up. “Anymore?”
“It would be a lot easier if you two just got dressed and came out here.”
It was not easier when they got dressed and got out there. In fact, it was a hell of a lot harder. Because, standing in front of them, was Peggy Carter. A younger version than Tony had known in his youth, the gray not yet painting his aunt’s temples. He supposed this was the Peggy Carter Steve had known. The Peggy Carter Steve had planned to marry and have a life with.
The Peggy Carter Steve loved.
No matter what lingering feelings Steve may have had roaming about inside that gorgeous soul of his were shoved to the corner of Tony’s mind, for at that moment, Peggy was launching herself into Steve’s arms, pressing their mouths together.
“Steve, you’re alive!” she said when she pulled back. She still held his face between her hands. “Excuse me for being brash. We all thought you were dead. Howard’s become unhinged. All he cares about is finding you. In fact, it’s getting worrying.”
Yeah, Tony wasn’t sticking around for this anymore. There was no reason to. Steve was still holding her, his lips stained red from where she’d kissed him. That was all the answers Tony needed. This was stupid. He was stupid. A stupid little boy who dared to believe in a happily ever after with someone who’d already found his.
“Who is that?” he heard Peggy ask as he slunk out of the room.
“Huh? Oh, that’s my… Tony !” Steve was calling after him. Tony didn’t turn around. He wouldn’t turn around. He heard Steve jogging after him. He didn’t slow down. (He didn’t speed up). Enough time had passed between his leaving and Steve’s realization, that Tony made it to their wing in the compound before Steve caught up.
He closed the door. He didn’t slam it. He wasn’t angry.
Yes, he was angry.
Not at Steve. At himself. For… for fucking letting himself fall in love.
Mostly, he was just sad.
He threw open the door to their enormous closet. Instead of one side being his and one side being Steve’s, the entire walk in room was a mixture of their clothes. After six years, Tony wasn’t sure if he would even be able to discern which clothes with solely his. Aside from the custom tailored suits, that is.
A knock. “It’s not locked,” he called, reaching up and grabbing a sweater from a hanger. Examining it, he was pretty sure he owned it PS (pre-Steve). He threw it on the large counter in the middle of the closet.
“But it’s closed,” he heard Steve say, still on the other side of the door. “I’ll only come in if you want me to.”
“Since when does it matter what I want?” He said it at a normal volume, knowing Steve would hear anyway.
“Tony stop being--”
“Ridiculous?” Tony asked. “Sorry to break it to you… actually, I’m not sorry. You just locked lips with someone else in front of me.”
“I don’t want to hear the ‘she-kissed-me’ line because you didn’t do anything to stop her. And when it was over, you continued to hold her. And it was only until I left, and when she asked, that you even remembered I was in the fucking room.” He wasn’t yelling. Because he really wasn’t angry at Steve.
He was just sad.
And he was waiting for a response. For Steve to deny it. Make an excuse. It didn’t come. For all Tony knew, Steve had walked away. Probably to go find Peggy. Explain he was married (to a man) and assure her he’d end it as soon as possible.
Tony continued to sift through the clothing, throwing random articles onto the table, and opening the mirrored door in the corner to fetch out a suitcase. Steve had picked out the Louis set, so he should probably leave those. But… he’d received the Gucci as an anniversary gift from Steve. Or had he given it to Steve? No, Steve had bought the luggage and Tony had flown them to Paris. So it technically belonged to Tony but it was tainted by a shadow of love. And Steve loved the Globe Trotter because of its vintage look, so he should leave those behind. Jesus, how many fucking luggage sets did they need?
And amongst it all was Steve’s rucksack. It was worn, more patches holding it together than the original fabric. When Steve moved in with Tony, when they took that first step into creating a life together, all of Steve’s possessions fit into that single bag. Tony remembered the day, how Steve had been embarrassed about how little he had, unknowing of the fact that Tony was just as embarrassed by the sheer amount of stuff he possessed.
They’d talked it out. Realised it was all unimportant. Things were just things. A week later, Steve confessed he hated the lamps by their bed. When he said it, referred to it as ours , Tony had scrapped every piece of furniture in the entire room and they designed a new one. Together.
When he woke up, he was in bed. The last thing he remembered was crying on the floor, Steve’s rucksack clutched in his hands, wondering if Steve would take half of their possessions or if the important possessions would still fit into the tattered bag. It was possible he fell asleep on the floor there, but then how did he end up back here?
“Hey,” Steve breathed. That was the voice he used after one of Tony’s panic attacks. “Sweetheart, I think we need to talk.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Tony croaked, his voice hoarse with sleep and tears. “I’ll have the lawyers draw up some papers.”
“For what? Tony…” Tony’s body stiffened at the hand that Steve placed on his shoulder; Steve immediately recoiled. Tony still hadn’t opened his eyes. Looking at that beautiful face would hurt too much. “There is definitely a misunderstanding happening on both of our parts. Remember what Doctor Nguyen said? We have to communicate.”
“I don’t want the divorce to be long and drawn out,” Tony confessed. “I just want to sign some papers. You can have whatever you want.”
“Hold on, why are we getting a divorce?”
“Because Peggy is back!” Tony shouted, sitting bolt upright and finally opening his eyes to the harsh daylight. “Because you no longer have to settle for second best. The girl of your dreams is standing out there and… I just want you to be happy.”
Steve’s mouth was a hard line, a crinkle between his eyebrows. It was the face he got when they were playing chess. Trying to figure out what Tony was thinking, what moves both could use to manipulate their pieces around the board.
“You think…” Steve spoke slowly. Was he reigning in his anger? That’s what that tone usually meant. That he was trying to keep his loud mouth at bay. “That because a woman I haven’t seen in seventy-three years shows up--a woman I shared one kiss with, mind you--that I want to divorce you?”
“Two kisses,” Tony grumbled.
“Hey babe, can you look at me?” Steve gently placed his knuckle under Tony’s chin, titling it so they were looking in each others’ eyes. “I’m gonna monologue for a second and I need you to not interrupt me. Can you do that?”
“Yes.” The word was barely a whisper.
“Growing up, I had this image of love in my head. Like in the movies. The sailor looks across the room, sees the beautiful dame, and turns to his friends and says something like ‘ Fellas, that’s the girl I’m gonna marry. ’ Not that I thought I’d ever get married because I didn’t have many prospects, but it was nice to dream.
“And then I found that girl. And I never said the words, and I never crossed the crowded room, but I thought ‘em in my heart. Then I lost her and it was devastating--”
“Steve, I get it. You don’t have to keep explaining why you’re leaving--”
“Shut up , Tony. I loved Peggy. It was a comfortable love and I thought that was it. But then. I fell in love. I fell in love with an asshole who had a stubborn streak that rivalled mine and who, god.” Steve chuckled, bowing his head. “The first time I met this guy, I wanted to throw him down a flight of stairs. Or punch him. Or punch him so that he’d fall down a flight of stairs.”
“Not helping your case, Rogers,” Tony grumbled, the tiny smile tugging at his lips giving him away.
“Stark-Rogers,” Steve reminded, bumping their shoulders together. “I chose to spend my life with you. I am desperately, passionately in love with you. You and only you.”