A/N: Wrote this before Infinity Wars, was completely blindsided by the movie and found this lying in my old docs. This is an AU verse of Recurring Steve by Memory25.
The Avengers had fallen. Their allies were dead. The world was burning.
They had all failed.
Tony gripped the dirt beneath him, eyes burning from the dust and smoke. He was the last one left. He had to make this count. Had to or else-
"FRIDAY, what's happening out there."
"FRIDAY, stay with me. Come on, I need you to connect me, FRIDAY."
"-...yes, Thanos is currently 3-...from our pos-.." FRIDAY pulsed frantically as she connected to the-
"Initiat-.. Status 3/6.. Countdo-..wn to maxi..um output ..ll begin when re-ady."
Please, he thinks desperately. Please.
"STEVE!" he screamed hoarsely, his voice ripping through his throat as he reached out futilely towards the fire. Echoes of his scream surrounded him.
Why. Why was it you. Why couldn't it have been him. Why.
Tony didn't blame them. He couldn't. NOt when he believed it too. (WHy couldn't it have been me who died. WHy did I survive.)
"Stark, I can't guarantee that you'll be able to survive it. This has never been done before-" Stark interrupts him, "I highly doubt any of this has happened before doc."
"But the amount of energy that's being regulated and stuffed into that engine is too much and it'll explode before you can even shoot it-"
"Don't worry so much about it doc, Lady Luck favors those who are wicked," Stark gives him a cocky, brittle smirk. "And I am most certainly wicked."
"Foolish. To dare believe that you all could defeat me, Thanos is, admittedly amused. To think that the worthless beings I had given my mercy to would rise up like this. However. I, Thanos, destroy-"
"-er of worlds blah, blah destroy half the world, blah blah. Yeah we got it the first ten times. I'm beginning to think that's all you can say." Tony snarks back, his chest vibrating and rattling. It felt as if his armour would shatter and take him with it. "Let's see if you can keep talking after this, Purple Guy."
Thanos doesn't rise to the bait, mouth bared in a sick parody of a smile. He's pitying me, Tony thinks dimly, he's pitying me. If he hadn't already had a good enough reason to kill the fucker, this would have done just as well.
Dimly, he hears Strange scream his name, and—
Tony's vision is covered by the dying orange light of a thousand nebulas, searing into his skin are circles of green fire. His eyes burn and he can feel himself dying and (steve is this what you felt) and his body scorched and rebuilt itself agonizingly slow.
Tony struggles to open his eyes because didithithim-
Thanos smiles at him, his gauntlet, a shining vision amidst the destruction around him.
Dust fills his vision.
"I want for the sky to not cover my eyes."
"I don't want to go."
He missed his only chance. He missed it. He failed. He failed. He failedfailedfailedfailed-
Tony closes his eyes.
Steve wakes up to the sound of screams. Frustration filles and invades her chest. It gets harder to breathe. Stop it. Stop being angry. Stop screaming. Stop. Stop. Steve dies 3 more times before she can control her emotions again. Anger bubbles up and her gut clenches together as she tried not to cry but it didn't work and painpainpainpain she can still feel it. Can still feel the fire and how it seared into her soul, biting at her and she couldn't see. It hurt and she couldn't stop crying.
If she couldn't scream, then she would laugh and she laughed and laughed and-
Her cries came out in agonizing sobs. She's alive. She's alive and Bucky's alive and they'll both still be alive 50 years later. She laughs and she cries and she hopes.
She'll do better this time. Just like she's always done. She'll do better and this time- she thinks of the Avengers, the rag tag team and their crazy antics and insecurities and tentative friendships- she'll do better for them too. She promises.
Anthony Tony Stark died in a blaze of fire. Howard Stark claimed he came into his life the same way.
"Time of death, July 4th, 1918. 9:30."
A/N: This is not in chronological order! I repeat. NOT IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER!