“You mean you wouldn’t have tried to talk me and Bruce out of it? C’mon, Mister Freedom isn’t Free – you can’t really expect me to believe that.” Tony scoffed.
Steve shrugged. “Guess we’ll never know. But Tony, that lack of trust was the first crack in the team dynamic – in our dynamic. Then came Sokovia, and the Accords, and King T’Challa and Bucky and Zolan, and we shattered. Divided we fell. We were easy pickings for Thanos.”
They fell silent, lost in their own brooding thoughts. Tony abruptly stood.
“So – if – we did this, when are you thinking, and what exactly are we telling, and to who?”
“We need to get the stones first. Then we can send Scott home with them, while we stay behind. That way the timelines are already split, with the stones being gone.”
“So again – who, where, when, and what?”
“Natasha.” Steve said slowly. “We need – I need – to talk to Natasha. You need to talk to JARVIS.”
“What happened to telling our counterparts?”
“You really think we’re going to believe any of this?” Steve said wryly. “Cap’s been thawed out for six months. You’re your charmingly snarky and sarcastic quippy self. Plus, we spent the day fighting aliens, demi gods, and armored whales with spikes.”
Tony winced. “Fair point.”
“Natasha is a spy – and she’s the most pragmatic person that I’ve ever met.” Steve said dryly. “She’ll compartmentalize and use the information instead of just react to it, like Fury is – was – always on me to do.” He paused. “You, on the other hand, need to tell JARVIS as much as you can. He needs to start searching for Bucky and Zolan, and track their locations. Zolan had a book that he was reading from when he was alone with Bucky at the compound, remember? Buck didn’t start reacting until he said that random series of words in Russian.”
Tony frowned, not remembering, but trusting in the super soldier’s eidetic memory.
“I remember the coordinates, enough to give JARVIS a starting point,” he said. “Maybe there was something there that we missed.”
“That entire facility needs to be blown to kingdom come.” Steve countered.
“Including the proof of who killed my parents?” Tony challenged.
Steve blew out a breath, shaking his head. “No. I leave that decision up to you as to whether or not you tell JARVIS to reveal it. It was probably in the Hydra files Nat released online. Wouldn’t be hard to manufacture.”
Tony stared at him. “You would risk pissing off my younger self again for this?”
“Were you more furious at Bucky for being the weapon, or me for not telling you of my suspicions in the first place?”
“You.” He answered without hesitation.
Steve nodded. “Cap doesn’t suspect the truth until after Nat and I go to Camp Leigh and talk to the computer brain Zola. Did knowing change the intensity of your emotions towards me or Bucky? Would we still have had to escape to Wakanda, or would you have protected him if you didn’t know the truth?”