"Just consider it, Steve. I'm not saying it's happening, but think about this."
Sighing—partly because of Tony's puppy eyes and the growing frustration—Steve stood from his seat, pacing. "As soon as you told me you wanted to move house last night, I've been thinking about it for hours. I… I can't just drop everything I have here and leave."
It was expected, all of it Steve had anticipated. Tony's reluctance to accept the fact their son, Peter, was off to college; however, when he'd approached Steve, slightly drunk, and had said they needed to relocate closer, Steve hadn't prepared himself for the extent of actually going along with him, in a sense. Only in the morning did he realise Tony meant it.
"I'm not asking you to drop everything, honey."
"Really? Because it sounds exactly like you are," he said softly, careful not to upset Tony more than he already was. "You can't follow Peter around, Tony."
Tony drummed his fingers against his leg, nervously, and mumbled, "He doesn't mind."
"That's because he doesn't know." Steve raised an eyebrow. "Were you even planning on telling him?"
"Yeah, of course…"
Holding his hands up, Tony relented, "Okay, okay! Maybe I wasn't."
Steve sighed again, rubbing the back of his neck before sitting back down; he took Tony's hand, lacing their fingers together, and lifted it up, kissing it gently.
If consoling Tony weren't distracting him, he'd probably be the same. Yet deep down, he knew the need to never let your child go was part of being a parent, that Tony was just panicking, and grieving over the farewell—albeit only for a few weeks before Peter would return for a break—but still, it was a heart-breaking split of a bond that had been formed over eighteen years. It only pained them more with the thoughts on when he does move on.
"I know it's difficult, Tony—"
"Okay," Steve said slowly, tightening his hold. "Incredibly hard to deal with this, but we can't move. We can't follow Peter."
Tony ran his free hand over his tired eyes. "Look, I know you're right, but I can't help it. Five minutes ago I was asking Jarvis on how to change diapers, cleaning up the mess he made in my workshop, and trying to unstick him from the ceiling and now he's going off on his own, beginning a new life. Jesus, Steve, how long will it be before he marries, has kids of his own? I am not ready to be a grandfather. No way."
"Nothing… just," Steve blew out a hard sigh, feigning surprise, "Tony Stark thinks I'm right."
He groaned, shoving at his chest. "Not helping."
Steve tilted Tony's chin up, capturing his lips in a slow, meaningful kiss, hoping it will explain more than what he words would, "It's time to start letting him go—"
"Shut up," he said gently. "If we attach ourselves to his hip, we'll never be able to let him go at all. He'll still be the same little boy who called you Daddy at six months, helped build one of your suits at six, who got grounded for webbing the whole Tower, and nearly got himself killed by Lizard only a year ago, but he's growing up now, and we need to let him."
"Attached to his hip doesn't sound like a bad thing," Tony sniffed, and Steve saw his eyes were shiny with unshed tears; his chest clenched. "Does it? Let's not forget the time you wouldn't take your eyes off him when he had only learnt how to turn on his stomach."
"Point taken," Steve chuckled, and then brushed away the one tear that slid down Tony's cheek. "You're going to be okay."
Tony managed a fleeting smile. "I hope so. Be sure to stop me if I try anything, though."
"Don't worry, I'm way ahead of you." Tony sat up straighter at that. "Yeah, I've asked Jarvis to lock up all your suits—"
"—that can only be unlocked to my command." Steve smiled, kissing him again, briefly. "Consider it my way of support."