Disclaimer: I don't own Captain America or Iron Man.
They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire. I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That's how Dad did it, that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.*
Except… that wasn't exactly true, was it?
There were days, working on the base and watching more kids leave than come back, that Howard wondered if he was even going to make it through the war. Sure, he wasn't out there doing the fighting himself, and yes, it had gotten so much better with Captain Stretchy Pants around. That didn't mean the base wouldn't get bombed, or, more likely, he wouldn't accidentally blow it up with an experiment. Right now, he wasn't exactly sure what sort of legacy he'd leave if that happened tomorrow. He just wanted this damn war over with.
An opportunity came sooner than he expected, not from SHEILD, but under something called the Manhattan Project.
He didn't think they'd use it in a populated area.
He didn't think they'd drop it twice.
The phone call came just an hour before it hit the news.
"YOU WERE ONLY SUPPOSED TO USE IT ONCE!"
Howard didn't care that he was screaming at the President.
He didn't care that his name wasn't officially connected to the Project.
This wasn't the sort of legacy he wanted to leave for his son.
This wasn'tthe legacy he was going to leave for his son, damnit!
He was going to leave something better.
He saw the car heading for them. He thought of the base. He thought of his search for Steve. That damned Project. He thought of the expo, and his legacy. He thought of his son, and wondered, not for the first time, if perhaps he should have shared that legacy just a little sooner, and spent just a little more time with him. Then he saw his wife, and nothing more.
*From Iron Man