“Dammit Cap,” Tony groaned. “I’m too old for this shit. And junior me isn’t old enough. Fine – Siberia gets blown to hell. I’ll set JARVIS to finding it, and have him deploy some of the Iron Legion to the location. Obadiah Stone sent my weapons everywhere – shouldn’t be hard to make up a story.” He studied the younger man, noting the stubble and dark circles. “Go get some sleep, Cap. I’ll work on compiling a file that has all of the major events of the past few years for JARVIS. I’ll link them to be opened only by certain events or days, so he can’t access everything right away – like after he becomes Vision.”
Steve nodded, suddenly exhausted. “I’ll leave you to it then. Should we delay the launch? I can try to buy you a few hours, tell the team that we miscalculated and have to adjust our time frame to closer when the action occurs, so midafternoon instead of early morning.”
“Not bad on the spot reasoning, old man.” Tony said lightly. “But no. It’s been a few years, but I can still pull an all-nighter. Morgan went through a horrible bout of colic as a baby…”
“You’ll see her again, Tony.” Steve said gently. “I promise. Her and Pepper.” He gestured to Tony’s phone. “Isn’t it Morgan’s bed time? Pepper said you do an excellent bedtime story. Especially when there are princess voices.”
“I vehemently deny such falsities and lies.” Tony replied absently, already dialing. “And I told you before – the power of the baby blues is to be only used for good.”
Steve grinned. “Good night, Tony.”
The next morning, Bruce threw a minor wrench in their plans when he informed them that he would be going with Clint to Vormir, not Natasha.
“We know that the stone requires a sacrifice to retrieve it,” he said bluntly. “And I am the only one here could potentially survive. Either I come back or the Hulk comes back, or we finally both get to rest.” He shook his head when Tony started to protest. “I’ve made peace with my decision, Tony, so please don’t try to talk me out of it. Hulk is in agreement.” He offered a wan smile. “No matter who comes back, he – we – understand the stakes. No more temper tantrums.”
Steve was the first to come over and hold out his hand. “Thank you,” he said quietly. Natasha was right behind him, giving a bittersweet smile and a long, lingering hug that said far more than words ever could.
Clint and Thor also moved over to shake his hand and murmur comments that were too quiet for the others to hear, but that made Bruce smile and nod agreement.
Tony moved to stand in front of Bruce with a dark frown. “No sappiness, because you’re coming back. And you’ve always been the bravest of all of us. You’re the only one who ever doubted.” He said quietly, waiting until the other man nodded before moving away.