A/N: So, this is another story from an avengerkink prompt. I've gotten a little addicted to filling prompts over there. XD

Disclaimer: So, the other universe team was made from my own ideas of what a world without Tony would look like, but they're still based on Marvel people so not mine still.

As usual, Tony was down in the workshop by the time Steve got back from his morning run. And as usual, Steve made Tony breakfast because he knew his boyfriend probably rolled out of bed and rushed down into the lab without even thinking of food. Normally, he brought Tony a granola bar or an apple. Something Tony could easily eat while he continued working. But today was a special occasion so he decided to cook up a batch of pancakes and brought those down to the lab.

"Pancakes," Tony said with obvious delight. "Babe, you spoil me. You really do." He hunched over the plate and shoveled a forkful into his mouth.

A small smile played at the corner of Steve's mouth."I wanted to do something special for our anniversary."

Tony's head jerked up and the fork clattered back against the plate. "It's today? Shit."

Steve glared at Tony across the workbench. "How could you forget our anniversary?"

Tony shrugged. "I'm no good with dates. Just ask Pepper. If she wasn't managing my calendar, I wouldn't get to a single event."

"This shouldn't be like one of those charity balls you try to hide from. It's our anniversary."

"I'm sorry," Tony said. "I'll make it up to you later."

"That's what you always say. And you don't remember my birthday either. I don't know how you could forget, considering it's the Fourth of July and you tease me about it the entire rest of the year."

Tony sighed. "I never remembered Pepper's birthday either, okay? Or Rhodey's."

"And somehow you still remember Dummy's creation date."

Tony's eyes narrowed. "What exactly are you trying to say?"

"I'm saying you need to put more effort into interacting with the people around you. We all take time to celebrate your birthday and it just seems like you don't care about the rest of us. Sometimes I wonder if your bots are the only thing you really do care about."

Tony shoved his toolbox off the table and all the tools spilled over the floor in a loud clatter. "You have some nerve, you know. I let you all live in my fucking Tower out of the kindness of my heart. Maybe I only like my robots better because they don't keep bitching at me every time I make a mistake."

Steve gritted his teeth. "Fine," he said. "I'll leave you to your robots then. Because clearly they take much better care of you then I do." He flipped Tony's plate onto the floor and then stormed upstairs.

He had to go for a run to clear his head. Because at the moment, he felt like throwing something at Tony's head and that just wasn't like him. He loved the man, but god was he infuriating. Tony seemed to only bring out the worst in him sometimes.

Halfway around the block, Steve's watch lit up with the Avengers' symbol. He came to a halt and looked around at the line of smoke on the horizon. Well, then. He could still feel the frustration bubbling under his skin, but maybe he'd felt better after he let off some steam walloping the villain of the week.

When he arrived on scene, the other Avengers were busily battling some new villain in a clunky suit of armor and some remote-controlled tarantula, scorpion, and snake robots. They didn't look that tough. His shield could probably easily slice through the snake's head...except he didn't have his shield with him. He didn't think he'd need it just running around the block.

Natasha tossed him one of her backup weapons so he wasn't completely useless in the fight, but it was still galling to be out of uniform and without his shield. As the leader, he was supposed to be setting a good example for the rest of the team.

And even worse, Tony started making snarky comments about how unprepared he was, how long it had taken him to show up to the battle, how little he had actually done in the fight. Once the villain was neutralized, Steve was sorely tempted to bash in Tony's armor.

Tony touched down on the ground next to the fallen villain and kicked away a couple chunks of scrap metal. "Hey, he wasn't so tough. The guy's got Steve's grasp on technology."

"Shut up, Tony," Steve growled.

The rest of the Avengers looked vaguely uncomfortable by their argument and Steve felt just a little embarrassed at how easily he lost his temper with Tony. The rest of the team didn't need to see him fall apart. He needed to stay strong and professional no matter how much Tony irritated him.

Tony pulled off his helmet and put a hand on one hip, surveying the wreckage from the battle. "It's junk, all of it. Nothing worth salvaging. I already know what makes this stuff tick. Nothing new, nothing exciting."

Steve tensed. While Tony had been wandering around kicking at scrap metal, a little red dot had appeared on the back of his head. Steve had enough time to catch a glint of metal out of the window of the neighboring high rise before he was throwing himself at Tony, hoping to tackle him out of the way of the sniper round.

It wasn't a bullet. Whatever it was, hit Steve like a laser beam. His skin tingled with electricity and then he blacked out.

When he came to, he was lying facedown in the carpet. He cautiously levered himself to his elbows and glanced around at his surroundings. The wallpaper was the familiar muted gold that Tony had plastered over every room in the Tower. So, the team had probably carried him back home after the battle. That was good. He'd be more than a little irritated if it had all been an evil kidnapping scheme. He was getting really tired of those.

He stood up to stretch and then frowned. This wasn't Tony's room. This was his old bedroom.

Why did they bring him up to his old room? He hadn't slept there since he started dating Tony. Everybody knew that. But maybe this was Tony's idea. A reminder that they were still fighting.

He sighed and shoved his way out of the door. It was time to get some answers.

On the common floor, he was gratified to see Natasha walking briskly down the hallway in his direction.

"Hey, Natasha, have you-"

"I'm busy, Rogers," she said without even slowing down to make eye contact.

He blinked, a little taken aback by her brusqueness. Natasha usually loved to chat, even in the middle of missions. It was unthinkable that she would be too busy to even say hello.

There had to be some explanation for why she was so short with him. Maybe she was taking Tony's side in their argument. That had to be it. She didn't like to show it very much, but she did have a soft spot for the genius. Everyone did, frankly.

Steve wandered into the den looking for the rest of the team. Tony and Clint liked to play videogames together on the big TV and sometimes even Thor would join in. And on the weekends, the team gathered to watch one of the movies in Tony's extensive collection.

But the den was empty today.

Steve poked his head into the kitchen, hoping to see Tony begging Bruce for a taste of his frosted oatmeal cookies while Clint surreptitiously stole a spoonful of frosting.

There was no one in the kitchen either.

Steve didn't understand it. Everyone liked to hang around on the common floor when they weren't on missions.

"Jarvis, where is everybody?"

"Agent Romanov is in the downstairs gymnasium, Agent Barton is in the upstairs gymnasium, Dr. Banner is in his quarters, and Thor is leaving for Asgard."

"Where's Tony?"


"That's okay," Steve said. "I have a pretty good idea of where he is anyway."

It was just like Tony to swear Jarvis to secrecy about his whereabouts. But it wasn't exactly a secret that Tony always holed up in the lab when he was upset.

He stepped out of the elevator and was surprised to see wooden boards tacked up over the door and windows. Tony liked to put the lab under lockdown when he was mad, but this was just ridiculous.

Steve pried away one of the boards and peered inside. The workshop was clean and sterile, with no trace of the project Tony had been working on that morning. And there was no sign of Tony.

"Jarvis, where the hell is Tony?"

"Sir is deceased."

"That's-no, that's impossible. I talked to him just this morning."

"You are mistaken."

"Jarvis, I-"

One of Jarvis' holographic screens popped up with an image of a death certificate. Anthony Edward Stark was written right at the top. Steve blinked back tears. So it was true. Tony was dead. And he had died thinking Steve hated him. Oh, how he wished he could take back all the things he said to him. But it was too late now.

He squeezed his eyes shut. "When did it happen?" He wasn't sure why it was so important to know the answer. All that mattered was that while he was knocked out, Tony had gotten killed because he wasn't there to save him.

"If you had looked at the documentation I provided, you would see that Sir committed suicide approximately two years ago."

"Two years?" Steve spluttered.

This was his worst nightmare coming true. How many years had he lain unconscious while the world went by him again? How many years before Tony had given up hope that he would ever come back? Tony was a lot stronger than he was in the months after the battle in New York, but Steve knew that depression was still something he struggled with a lot. He would blame himself for Steve getting shot.

"I'm sure you're well aware of the date by now," Jarvis said acidly. "But since you seem to have suffered some sort of head injury earlier, I will remind you that Sir committed suicide May 5th, 2012."

2012? That was only three months after the battle of New York, when Tony was in the darkest stages of his depression.

Steve's eyes widened. "This isn't my world," he said slowly. "My Tony's still alive."

"Then you are an intruder." Alarms began to sound throughout the Tower.

Steve groaned. Just what he needed.

The elevator door slid open and the team stepped out, weapons drawn. But they quickly dropped their guard when they saw it was him.

Clint scowled upwards."Calling us all the way down here for nothing. What the fuck is wrong with you, Jarvis? It's just Captain Fucking America. Nothing to get all excited about." He rolled his eyes. "Honestly, this thing gets more broken everyday. Can't we retire it already?"

"He's not broken," Steve said firmly.

"I was talking to Natasha," Clint said through gritted teeth. "It's none of your business."

"You're right," Steve said. "It's none of my business. This isn't even my universe. But I'm not going to sit by and let you talk badly about Jarvis. He called you down here for a reason."

Clint's eyes narrowed. "The fuck you on about, Rogers? Hit your head a little too hard this morning?"

Steve sighed. "I'm Steve Rogers from a different universe. A universe where Tony Stark is alive right now. A universe I would very much like to get back to."

"Bullshit," Clint said.

"No," Bruce said quietly. "I've heard about this sort of thing before. There's supposed to be an infinite number of universes out there, each one differing only slightly. And you say the difference is that Tony's alive in your world?"

Steve nodded.

Clint kicked at one of the loose boards. "I still say it's fucking nonsense. He's got a head injury, remember?"

Natasha pursed her lips. "An awfully specific delusion, don't you think?"

"Yeah," Clint said. "Who'd want to hallucinate a world with Stark in it?"

"Hey," Steve said, taking a menacing step towards Clint. "I don't want to hear that sort of talk ever again."

"Lay off. This isn't your world."

"I know. And I feel very sorry for all of you having to live in a world without Tony. And especially your Steve. It must be devastating for him to lose his boyfriend so soon."

Clint and Natasha exchanged a glance. "Boyfriend?"

Steve was stunned. "We weren't together in this world?"

He and Tony weren't exactly together in the first few months after New York, but they were really moving in that direction.

Clint shrugged. "Stark kept to himself. I think I only saw him once or twice in the three months he was here."

"And none of you thought to check up on him?"

Natasha sighed. "He said he was fine."

"And you really believed him?"

Natasha had previous experience with Tony working undercover at his company. Surely she would have recognized the signs that Tony was spiraling out of control.

She shrugged. "We just thought he was working on a big project."

"He promised us all a bunch of new weapons," Clint muttered. "Which of course, we'll never get now."

Ah, yes. Steve remembered those days. Tony had been especially manic the first week the team moved in, promising all of them a ridiculous amount of new gear in just days. Steve was no engineer, but even he knew Tony couldn't do it all in such a short time span. And when, inevitably, Tony couldn't meet his self-imposed deadlines, he had been despondent and morose.

It should have been obvious to everyone that Tony wasn't exactly stable. He didn't know Tony that well in the beginning, but he had tried to keep him company in the lab when he could and keep an eye on him. But he hadn't realized how bad things were for Tony until he walked into the kitchen at 3 a.m. and saw him on the floor in the middle of a panic attack.

Tony was just so good at putting on a brave face and convincing everyone he was invincible.

"Let's not speak ill of the dead," Bruce said. "We knew him for such a short time, when he was at his worst. There's no use blaming him now."

"Yeah, whatever," Clint said. "I still think he was a selfish bastard. We've all been through crap and none of us have offed ourselves. Suicide is the coward's way out."

Natasha nodded solemnly and Bruce looked vaguely uncomfortable.

Steve felt his blood boiling. "What's the matter with you guys? You're supposed to be a team."

"We are," Clint said. "We kick evil villain ass regularly."

"You might fight villains together, but you're all far from a team." He surveyed the group. "I bet none of you have heard Thor recite an epic poem from Asgard or eaten Natasha's borscht."


Steve shook his head sadly. "And I bet you never knew how much Tony loved singing. It's sad, really. My team treats each other like family. And that means you look after each other and treat each other with respect. It's too late for Tony, but it doesn't have to be too late for the rest of you."

Clint frowned. "We don't take orders from our Steve. He's kind of an idiot."

"Yeah," Steve said grimly. "I can see that."

He only hoped their Steve had just been oblivious to Tony's suffering instead of deliberately ignoring him. The thought made him want to punch the guy's face in, even if it was his own face.

"Where is your Steve anyway?"

Bruce shrugged. "He probably went out for a run, even though it's inadvisable with his head injury."

"Because again, idiot," Clint said.

Steve blinked. He had thought the head injury thing was just an excuse not to believe him. But apparently this world's Steve had gotten recently injured.

"Did you fight the guy with the remote-controlled robots today?"

Natasha nodded.

"How in the world did I get a head injury fighting that guy?" He had gone into battle without a shield and he had still come out unscathed. Either the villains in the world were a lot tougher or their Steve was just as bad as they claimed.

Clint rolled his eyes. "One of the scorpions snuck up on you and walloped you good."

Steve replayed the fight in his head. There hadn't been any chance of one of the robots sneaking up on him. They were a little too big to miss. And besides, they had focused most of their attacks on Tony since had spent the whole fight zapping everything willy-nilly.

Oh, right. No Tony, no aerial support. And knowing how much this team thought of their Steve, nobody else would have bothered to warn him if they saw anything.

He pinched the bridge of his nose. In the state they were in, he was really surprised this group was somehow still together and even more surprised they were successfully fighting crime.

The elevator door opened and another Steve rushed out, breathlessly clutching the shield to his chest. "I got here as soon as I could. What's happening?" He frowned as he surveyed the group."Guys? Why are we all hanging around down here? Are we-" Other Steve's eyes finally landed on him."Oh."

Steve crossed his arms over his chest. "You don't seem surprised to see me."

The other Steve swallowed. "I can explain."

"Please do."

Other Steve's eyes flickered over the other set of Avengers. "There's, uh, some sensitive information I can't actually discuss with-"

"You don't trust your own team?" Steve shook his head sadly. "Fine, I get it. But you're not off the hook." He shoved Other Steve back into the elevator and hit the emergency stop. "It's just us now," he said. "So, you're going to tell me everything."

Other Steve sighed and his shoulders slumped. "I am really sorry about this. He was supposed to take Tony, not you."


"Because we need him. Between you and me, the team isn't doing so well. Yes, we manage to defeat most of the villains. But the battles are always long and messy." He turned so Steve could see the bandages plastered on the back of his neck. "And this was an easy mission. I'm sure you can imagine the carnage if we had to take on a foe like Loki again."

Oh yes. Steve could imagine it. This team was screwed.

Other Steve shrugged helplessly. "I didn't know what else to do. So I might have turned to a few less than savory individuals for a solution. And they told me about your world, where you team functions perfectly and the battles go smoothly. And the one difference between our worlds is Tony. So I sent someone to bring him to our world."

"Hell no. You lost your Tony because you didn't appreciate him enough. You don't get another one."

"We just need to borrow him for a little bit. Just long enough for us to figure out what about him makes your team work. Think about it. You'll be helping us save our world."

"Our world needs Tony, too. Especially me." He thought back regretfully to how he had treated Tony that morning. Fighting on their anniversary. He hadn't acted any better than the people of this world.

Other Steve was quiet for a moment. "You're together, aren't you?"

Steve nodded. "I'm sorry you never had that chance."

The other Steve shrugged."I can't miss what I never had in the first place. But don't worry. I'm not all alone in this century. I'm dating Sharon Carter. You've met her in your world, right? Lives right across from my old apartment." He sighed happily. "She's a swell dame."

Steve wrinkled his nose. "You still talk like that? Tony would have-"

Right. No Tony.

"Crazy how much one man can change the whole world, isn't it?" Other Steve said softly.

"That's Tony for you."

Beautiful, brash, brilliant Tony. Kind, sweet, generous to a fault. So strong and still so vulnerable. And maybe Tony wasn't good at remembering birthdays and anniversaries. But what did those matter? Every day with Tony was special. He didn't need their anniversary as an excuse to realize how much Tony meant to him.

"I'm not asking to take him from you," Other Steve said carefully. "We just need him for a few days."

"No. Your team has some serious issues to work on without Tony. They're all the reasons why you lost him in the first place. You've all been ignoring each other's needs and somehow that obliviousness has turned into hatred and resentment. I can't believe how badly Clint talks about Tony. He's been dead two years and he's still holding a grudge against him for dying. I can't in good conscience send Tony here to be mistreated and hurt. I'm sorry that you've lost your Tony, but I can't let you destroy mine."

Other Steve sighed. "I was afraid you'd say that."

"You'll have to make the best of what you have. If you can get your team to straighten up and care about each other, you might be able to convince Sam or Rhodey to occasionally help out with air support. But no one's going to want to join you if your team doesn't look after its members."

Other Steve nodded. "I guess it's the best we can hope for."

"You can still have a great team, even without Tony. In my world, Sam, Natasha, and I work pretty well together."

Other Steve's mouth twisted wistfully. "That sounds nice."

"It is. Now it's up to you to make it happen for your own team. It'll be hard work, but once you guys start to trust and respect each other, you'll find battles are a lot easier when you have each other's backs." He tipped his head to one side. "And you realize you'll have to explain what you've done to your team some time, right?"

"Yeah." The other Steve's shoulders slumped. "They're going to hate me, but I can't hide from it forever."

"Yes, you have a talk with your team as soon as possible. And I have to get back to my Tony before he freaks out about my absence and does something rash."

Other Steve nodded and hit a button on the elevator. They rode up to Steve's floor and Steve followed his counterpart into the bedroom. Under the bed was what looked like a sniper rifle made out of crystal and glass with some weird circuitry inside.

"This will send you back to your world," Other Steve said. "When you get there, tell Dillon that the mission's over."

"Will do."

"And take care of your Tony for me. You're lucky to have him, so don't take him for granted."

Steve shut his eyes as the other Steve shot him in the chest with a bolt of red light. For a moment, his whole body ached, and then everything felt normal again.

When he opened his eyes, he was flat on his back, surrounded by robot parts. It looked like he was back in his world. What a relief.

Natasha's voice floated over to him."I'm going to ask you one more time, kid. What did you do to Captain America?"

Steve sat up. Clint was restraining a skinny teenaged boy while Natasha threatened him with a knife. Bruce and Thor were examining another version of the crystal gun. So this kid had to be Dillon.

"Hey," Steve called. "Let him go."

Natasha whirled around. "It's Steve."

Dillon squirmed in Clint's grip. "See? He's back safe and sound. No harm, no foul, right?" But Steve could see he was itching for the gun.

"The mission's over, Dillon," he said sternly. "You need to return to your world."

Dillon's face fell. "Aw, man. I was so close. If he gave me another chance, I could have-"

"No more chances. He's changed his mind."

Dillon sighed heavily and fiddled with something on his sleeve. There was a burst of blue light and then he slowly faded out of Clint's arms.

"We had him," Clint complained. "We had him and he disappeared on us."

"The weapon has vanished with him," Thor said.

"It's okay, guys," Steve said. "He's not from our world so we never had jurisdiction anyway."

Clint sighed. "Still would have been nice to know who the kid was taking orders from. Doesn't seem like the he made that gun himself. Someone else has to be behind it."

"Oh, I know exactly who's behind it," Steve said.

"Then you can share with the rest of the class."

Steve's face lit up as Tony swooped in overhead. Oh, how good it was to hear Tony's voice again.

He barely waited for Tony to land on the ground before he rushed over to him and enveloped him in a hug. "I'm so glad to be back," he said. "I missed you."

Tony laughed and peeled off his helmet. "Easy, tiger. Where'd the kid zap you to? Antarctica? Middle of the Sahara? Siberia?"

"A place without you," Steve said. He peppered Tony's neck with kisses. "And I never want to go through that again."

"It couldn't have been that bad," Tony said. "You were gone for like five minutes."

Steve frowned. "It felt like an hour."

"Well, it was five minutes. Just enough time for Nat and Clint to corner the kid and me to scope out if he had any backup."

Weird. "Well, anyway, I'm happy to see you again," Steve said. He stroked Tony's cheek with his thumb. "I'd hate it if the last time I ever saw you was when we were fighting. And over something so stupid, too. I never should have made you feel like I cared more about our anniversary than I do about you."

Tony sighed. "And I should have paid more attention to you than my projects. Next year I'll have Jarvis remind me ahead of time." He smiled up at Steve. "So are we good now?"

"We're good," Steve said cheerfully. He draped an arm around Tony's shoulder. "How about we all go out for pancakes to celebrate our victory? And then later you and I can do something together."

Tony grinned. "I'm sure I can manage a last-minute dinner reservation somewhere. One of the perks of being me."

It felt so good to be sitting with his team again, laughing and talking over breakfast. He wasn't even annoyed when Tony started talking with his mouth full or when Clint and Tony decided to have a belching contest. It was just so good to be back.

He walked hand in hand with Tony back to the Tower while the rest of the team went on ahead. When they caught up, everyone was still standing around the base of the Tower.

And in their midst was Other Steve.

He stepped in front of Tony protectively. "Back off. I already told you that you're not taking him."

Other Steve put up his hands. "It's okay," he said. "I'm not here to take him."

He crossed his arms over his chest. "Then why are you here?"

"I want my team to see you guys in action. Bruce calculated that time in our world goes by a lot faster than in yours. So in an hour or so, you'll be fighting the same monster we fought yesterday afternoon. And I think it would be helpful if my team could see the difference in how the battles go."

"No," Steve said. "Your team is not coming here. Absolutely not."

"Why not?" Clint protested. "I want to meet an alternate me."

"No, you really don't. This other team is in a much darker place. Nobody gets along and the other Clint even hates Tony."

"What?" Clint yelped. "But Tony's my bro." He dropped into a fighting crouch and threw a punch at the air."Bring him on. I'll knock some sense into him."

Steve sighed. He could already see this going poorly.

"With all due respect," said Other Steve. "I really think both our teams could benefit from the interaction. But, only with your permission, Captain." His smile looked sincere, but Steve recognized the glint in his eyes that said he would rather have permission, but was determined to go through with it whether or not it was granted. Yeah, he had made that face a lot in his day.

"Fine," Steve said. "But if anything goes wrong, this was your idea."


The other Steve vanished and then the rest of the team began popping up one by one with Other Steve reappearing last. "So, this is my team," he said. "They're all eager to see how you handle a fight."

They didn't exactly look eager. The other team's expressions varied from bored to resentful. Steve could definitely see this plan going poorly.

"Hey," Tony said. "Where's my alternate?"

Steve winced. He really should have thought to warn him about that. But he hadn't wanted to think about it, much less talk about it. He squeezed Tony's hand gently."This might be a little difficult for you to hear. Remember how you were really struggling after the battle of New York?"

Tony nodded.

"Well, our Tony fucking offed himself," said Other Clint. "Selfish bastard."

"You motherfucker," Clint said. "He was our friend and our teammate and I'm not going to listen to you talk shit about him."

"He's no friend of mine. He left us."

"You can take your abandonment issues and shove them up your ass. He invited you to live in his Tower, dumbass. It's one of the nicest things anyone's ever done for us. We have a home now and people we can trust."

"And we still can't trust them not to die on us," Other Clint said sullenly.

"Jesus Chris. I just can't reason with this idiot. Nat, cognitive recalibration."

She slapped Other Clint hard across the face and then turned on her counterpart. "You know the signs," she hissed. "You've seen how Tony reacts when he's suffering. Maybe you weren't aware how bad it was, but you had to have known something was wrong. I told my Steve to keep an eye on Tony. What did you do?"

Other Natasha said nothing and Natasha slapped her, too.

"I hate that you share my face and my name," Clint said. "You make me sick. And I bet every other Clint out there feels the same way." He frowned. "Are there any more Clints?"

"There's a theory that an infinite number of universes exist, each slightly different from our own," both Bruces said in unison.

Other Bruce smiled. "It's nice to have someone else to talk to about science. Nobody else really understands or cares."

"Tony's great for that," Bruce said. "He's a pain in the ass when he's bored, but he'll read any scientific journal I give him and he'll happily discuss theory with me for hours. I wish you could have had that experience."

"So do I," Other Bruce said wistfully.

"And where were you when our friend was most in need?" Thor questioned his counterpart.

"I was where I belonged," Other Thor said importantly. "Doing the work of the kingdom of Asgard. I help these mortal heroes when their planet is most in need, but I want no part of their petty squabbles. It is unfortunate that the Man of Iron is no longer with us, but the life of one man is nothing compared to the safety of all of Asgard."

"Then you have truly learned nothing in your exile," Thor said sadly. "Our mortal friends have such short lifespans, but their lives are no less significant."

And Tony just looked around wonderingly as everyone argued about him.

Steve pulled Tony into his arms. "Look what a mess we are without you," he murmured. "We need you."

Tony raised an eyebrow. "We?"

Steve smiled. "I need you." He cupped Tony's face in his hands and leaned in to kiss him. "I love you, Tony."

"Love you, too," Tony said. "Happy anniversary."

When they parted, Other Steve was standing nearby, watching intently.

Tony licked his lips. "We have a few hours to kill, right? Let's say we let the others beat the crap out of each other and the three of us can go back to the Tower."

"No, Tony," Steve said.

"You've never wanted to see what it was like to have sex with yourself?"

"I don't want that. I've only ever wanted to have sex with you."

"Not even as an anniversary present for me?"

"No," Steve said. "The other Tony died on his watch. I still don't know if I can forgive him for that."

Tony nodded. "Yeah, I see how that could really kill the mood." He glanced over at Other Steve. "Sorry, buddy. I tried."

Other Steve smiled faintly. "That's okay. I'm just looking forward to seeing you guys in action."

Steve put a hand over Tony's mouth before he could make an innuendo out of it. "Right. Team, we're going to battle in another hour. Grab whatever new supplies you need so we'll be ready. The other team will be counted as civilians in this fight. So that means no potshots at your double, Clint. We're going to set a good example for the other Avengers. Now, let's move out."

Steve headed up to his floor to pull on his uniform and grab the shield. He knew this encounter alone wasn't going to fix the other team, but he hoped this was the wake-up call they needed to get back on the right path.