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{Fic} untitled MCU - CA:CW fix-it

I have a lot of frustrating feelings, okay?

Never thought I’d write a response to CA:CW. At this point I have to say outright that I hated Civil War. I wrote about it during my initial reaction post last year. I haven’t watched it again since then, I just keep making faces at the title when I see it come across Netflix. But I still have ~feelings~ about things.

So here is a gen fic replacing most of the Siberia scene. Never thought I’d write something based out of CW canon events, but I will note that I have to, for my own conscience, omit Peter Parker’s involvement in the film. (1 - He’s a goddamn kid and Tony’s whole motivation given at the beginning of the damn film was about feeling responsible over a young man’s death. 2 - Spiderman was super shoehorned into the film.)

No title. Gen. Un-beta’ed. No battles. Still lots of emotional hurt in a Tony and Steve (and Barnes) confrontation.
A burst of static and then silent video footage comes to life on the small screen. Tony lets himself watch for a moment, his breath hitching in his throat. He allows himself a moment of weakness and closes his eyes as he takes a deep breath. As he exhales, he fixes his glare on the man watching from the other side of the door. The Iron Man mask comes down and Tony raises his hands.

"That's your trump card?"

He fires his repulsors at the doors' hinges. It doesn't take long for the super soldiers at his side to pry the door open and drag their erstwhile out. Steve shoves the man onto his knees as Barnes takes a step back, gaze flickering from person to person.

Zemo stares up at Tony, face flushed with anger and surprise. "Do you know what that is?" he hisses, jerking his head in the direction of the screen. Tony avoids the temptation to look. "Don't you understand what he did?"

Tony doesn't reply verbally. With a carefully calculated move he clocks Zemo in the head. He watches dispassionately as the man lists limply in Steve's hold, unconscious.

They don't speak as Tony hands Steve restraints from a compartment in his suit. Once Zemo is effectively bound and Steve has gagged him with rope from his belt, Tony finally steps back and lets his hands drop. Behind his mask, he closes his eyes again and releases a shuddering breath.

Worthless. Meaningless.

"What now?" Barnes' voice is rough.

"Tony...?"

Even through the suit Tony can feel when Steve's hand lands on his arm. Jerking back, Tony opens his eyes and the face plate. Steve's concerned expression is replaced with wariness as soon as Tony's glare is revealed.

"You were never going to tell me," Tony accuses. He can see Barnes a few feet away, shoulders hunched as he watches them. Somewhere off to the side the video might still be playing. Tony refuses to look.

"I— Tony, I'm so sorry," Steve says earnestly. "I didn't know ho—"

"Don't bullshit me, Rogers." Tony clenches his fists. "You wanted to protect yourself, not me. You didn't give a damn—"

"That's not true!" Steve looks over his shoulder at Barnes, his expression pained. "You were helping me look, and if you knew—"

"I did!"

Tony doesn't realize he's screamed until he has the wide-eyed stares of both super soldiers fixed on him. Finally Tony turns his gaze to Barnes. Swallowing hard against the tightness trying to restrict his breathing, Tony asks Barnes, "Do you even remember?"

Barnes' face looks gaunt and ashen as his eyes darken with the look of a haunted lone survivor. His voice is barely audible as he confesses, "I remember them all."

Tony swallows again and blinks quickly as his eyes burn. He nods briskly at Barnes and returns his attention to Steve.

"It wasn't him, Tony. Please, you must understand what they did to him. He isn't respon—"

"That's not for you to decide," Tony replies, exhaustion creeping into his voice. He is so very tired. So very heartsick. He stares at Zemo's unconscious form and wishes he had an easy solution, that he could simply kill the man and erase all that has happened.

Steve's hand wraps around Tony's bicep and tries to shake him, unsuccessful with the strength of the suit. "You can't condemn him!" Steve's expression has grown hard with determination and Tony notes that the shield is tilted at an offensive angle. He isn't sure Steve consciously realizes what he's doing. "You can't just take Bucky back where they'll do God knows what. They won't understand."

Tony grits his teeth against a scream of frustration because Steve won't broaden his focus, he is so fixated on this one moment. He hasn't realized that everything has been pointless destruction and death.

"Steve..." Barnes tries to intervene.

"No, Buck, I won't let you just sacrifice yourself. You have nothing to feel guilty about!"

Tony slaps Steve's hand away and decides to ignore how the shield raises a little — a least the movement brings it into a defensive position. "You don't get to dictate how people feel!" he snaps. Tony jabs a finger at the shield. "We all know the story of this shield. Do you remember who gave it to you? Why it was given to you, what it meant? Are you still that good man standing up for the people against injustice?"

"I'm trying to protect Bucky!"

"That's all?" Tony scoffs. He looks between Barnes, who is carefully blank-faced and silent, and Steve. "It's all about one man? What gives you the right to think only about him?"

Steve's expression pinches as he takes a few moments before answering. "He's all that left..."

"No he's not." Tony holds up a hand as Steve opens his mouth to protest. "Do you still think you can cling to the past? Time moves on, Steve. We don't get to live in the dream of happier days. There's a world out there we have to face if we're going to survive. We have people and what I sure as hell thought was a home."

"That's... not what I meant," Steve murmurs. His shoulders drop and the shield dips a little. "You don't understand."

Tony laughs, the sound bursting out of him without warning. He's laughing and he's not sure why. Steve looks alarmed and behind him, Barnes takes a hesitant step forward, expression pained.

"Do you know how I knew?" Tony suddenly asks. At their blank faces, he lets out another humorless chuckle. "It was your decision, wasn't it? To dump everything from the SHIELD servers? And all of the Hydra records that were wrapped up in there. Where did it go, Steve? Did you think I'd miss something like that? Did you think Natasha didn't give anyone a heads' up?" The stunned expression on the blond's face is answer enough. Tony sighs. "You never thought about the information being leaked that would end up compromise and kill agents in the field. The details about weapons and operations that could suddenly be accessed by any determined or bored hacker with an interest in decryption. They had everything we could gather about the tesserect in there, psych evaluations, locations of undercover operatives, logs of what the WSC intended back in New York during the invasion.

"Why didn't we see weapons based on knock-off alien technology? Why weren't the Avengers hounded with questions prying into every dirty little secret SHIELD knew they could use against us?" The dawning realization on Steve's face makes Tony's chest feel tight. He doesn't know why he feels like he's breaking, not until—

"JARVIS," Steve murmurs, shield finally dropping to his side.

Tony inhales sharply at the name as the pain in his chest jabs sharply at his heart. "I waited for you to tell me," he says quietly. Steve glances back at Barnes again, refocusing on the original issue.

"They had a record?" Steve asks.

Tony's lip curls a little at that. He jerks his chin in Zemo's direction. "Do you really think this bastard could find out about all this and I couldn't? He wasn't Hydra, Steve. He's just a man. A sick manipulative fucker who—" He cuts himself off with a vicious shake of his head. "It was all pointless!" Tony paces away, fury and frustration boiling in his gut and threatening violence. He needed a fight, a way to vent all the conflicting emotions he's been dragged through in recent weeks. "You know where our— your friends are right now? Where Natasha is? Rhodey?" he chokes on the last name. His eyes burn as he glares at the corpses of the Winter Soldier program.

"Tony...?"

With a wordless snarl, Tony raises his hands and shoots through the glass of one row of tubes. His suit keeps him from visibly shaking, but he can feel his muscles twitching. Too much stress on his system.

He doesn't realize he's collapsing until someone catches him under his arms. When he looks up he's surprised to see Barnes' haunted face. "I'll go with you," he says.

"Bucky, we'll find another way," Steve says as he moves towards them.

"No, Steve." Barnes bows his head as he releases a shuddering breath. "I gotta stop running. I gotta get this shit out of my head. This guy, he's your pal, right?"

Tony resists the urge to make a derisive comment about that. Instead he gets his feet back under him so that he isn't sagging against Barnes anymore.

Steve's answer surprises him. "Of course." Tony stares at Steve.

"Then we trust him," Barnes says.

Steve's worry is obvious in his expression but he doesn't flinch from Tony's stare. The blond licks his lips nervously. "You... you know a way to make sure he'll be okay?" The question comes out small and frightened. He sounds so young.

"We've been taken for fools," Tony admits slowly. "Despite appearances, I can't control everything. You've made things a lot worse. But..." He looks down at Zemo and thinks of the footage Friday recovered for him. "We have some solid evidence. It's not too late." He swallows the bitterness that rises in his throat because maybe for Barnes it's not too late, but it doesn't feel like that's the case for the others.

"Tony, I don't know if I can just let you—"

Barnes interrupts. "This is my choice. And I... I'll take the risk."

Tony turns his head to Barnes, studying the man's strained expression. "I'll do what I can," he says.

Barnes looks at him, expression hesitant. "Why?"

An exhausted chuckle drags itself from Tony's throat. "There's holding someone accountable and then there's scapegoating. You have to make your own peace, Barnes, but you aren't responsible for what was done to you." He doesn't acknowledge the vulnerable look of shock. "People like you need help, not blind condemnation."

Barnes looks shaken and even takes a step back, eyes wide and frightened. Steve's gasp of surprise draw Tony's attention.

Steve stares at Tony as his mouth works silently for a response. Eventually he murmurs, "I had no idea you'd..." He trails off as a dawning look of horror crosses his expression.

"Yeah. I know," Tony responds flatly.

Rhodey's in the hospital, the doctors waiting to run more tests before another surgery. There are several Avengers-affiliated people locked in a secret prison that shouldn't exist. Natasha is in the wind. There's a world reeling at the numerous deaths and priceless destruction of the past week. For what.

"I'm sorry," Steve whispers. "I should have listened."

Tony isn't ready to discuss his own fault, but he counters, "We should have talked."

He's dead on his feet exhausted. He hurts all over from the fight at the airport — so stupid, so pointless! They don't have time to lie down and rest, though.

"We need to go. Someone grab that sack of shit." Tony walks away, turning his back on all of them, trusting that Steve won't make a break for freedom this time and drag Barnes away.

He's halfway down the corridor to the exit when T'Challa appears from the shadows, mask off. His expression is blank although his gaze is thoughtful as he looks Tony over.

"Of course you're here," Tony says, stopping a few feet away.

The king inclines his head in acknowledgment. His gaze focuses past Tony's shoulder where the footsteps behind him have stopped. T'challa doesn't speak to them, instead turning back to Tony. "I thought he'd killed my father. He did kill yours, yet you let him walk."

Tony doesn't need to explain his reasoning to this man. Instead he replies, "It takes time to process." T'challa's eyes narrow thoughtfully. "You know Zemo's responsible?"

"I do. I alerted the appropriate authorities. We need to make the apprehension official." Tony nods in agreement. The gesture of support makes the tight feeling around his chest ease just slightly. "We need to discuss how we proceed to clean up this mess," T'challa says. He looks again to the super soldiers. "None of us are currently in good standing."

Tony thinks that's an understatement.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
digitalwave
May. 20th, 2017 05:58 am (UTC)
This is raw, painful and, oh, so beautiful, sweetie. Thank you.
enmuse
May. 20th, 2017 06:16 am (UTC)
I had no idea that anyone would read this since I only posted this randomness on Tumblr and here. ^_^ Thanks for dropping a comment! (So much frustration with this film...)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )