Steve Rogers hesitated in front of the door to Tony’s private quarters, mentally berating himself for being an idiot.
Just knock, Rogers.
His body followed the command automatically, rapping sharply on the door twice before he dropped his arm. Military discipline kept him standing there as voices murmured inside, muffled even to his enhanced hearing. After an endless moment, the door opened.
Tony had matured, Steve realized with a jolt. Not just aged, though he still retained the fit body of a man who had – and still could – fight and train alongside the rest of the Avengers. He had matured, the restless energy that had always filled him finally settled, contained. He was finally comfortable in his own skin, and his place in the world – still genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, but also father. husband. family man.
“Steve.” he said neutrally.
“Tony.” Steve met his gaze levelly. “Can we talk?”
Cool brown eyes studied him for a long moment, before the door opened wider, just enough for the older man to slip out. “Not here.” he stated, stepping out of his quarters and closing the door firmly behind him. Shutting Steve out; keeping away from his sanctuary, even at the Avengers facility. They were team mates, barely, not friends, merely working towards a common goal.
Steve accepted the rebuke without comment, silently following the other man up the elevator to the roof.
“I’m sorry.” The words burst out of him. “That’s not the only thing I wanted to talk to you about, but it is the main one.”
“I was wrong, Tony. SHIELD, Hydra, Bucky, the Accords – I handled everything wrong. I got on you about not telling us about Ultron, and then turned around and did the exact same thing – not trusting anyone to have my back and be willing to help instead of just shutting me down.”
“Cap-” Tony tried again.
“So many things could’ve been prevented! Us, SHIELD, Hydra, Bucky, Thanos – if I had just made a few different decisions!” Steve shook his head, running his hand restlessly through his hair. “I want to tell them, Tony. I want to warn our past selves of what’s to come.”
“Steve! Dammit Rogers – ” Tony snapped. “Wait. What? You want to tell who what?”
“Our past selves. From 2012.” Steve replied. “When we go back in time to get the stones. We need to warn them.”
Tony stared at him. “You’re crazy.”
“No, think about it!” The soldier began pacing as Tony watched warily. “As soon as we take those stones, the timelines split, right? Our path is inevitable – it already happened, but theirs is not. They have a chance to correct so many wrongs, and deal with Thanos and the stones before the first snap even happens. Maybe even before that. They have time to prepare for finding the scepter and Strucker, and Ultron, and the Maximoff twins.”
Tony was silent, but Steve could see that the wheels were turning. He pushed harder.
“If you could tell 2012!Tony anything, what would you say? Not personally,” he added hastily. “But in relation to us. The Avengers.” He met the other man’s gaze. “I know what I would tell myself.”
“Bucky Barnes is alive, and you are willing to destroy everything to save him from himself.” Tony said bitterly.