“I’m sorry Steve…” Tony said, while staring at the damaged faceplate of his helmet that he held between his legs. “I’m sorry it had to end like this…I just...I just wanted to save everyone, you know? The Registration Act was supposed to be my legacy. God knows I’ve been doing this hero act for most of my adult life--Jeez, you've been doing it since the forties.”
Tony chuckled softly to himself then sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. He leaned back in his uncomfortable wooden chair and closed his eyes. “It should be me lying on this cold, metal slab...It really should.” He pursed his lips, then spoke. “Gah...I’m just man in a tin can, but you. This dark, cold world could have used someone like you.”
“But...The good news is...Through all of this...I never took a drink! And if I didn’t during this, I’m probably never going to...So there’s that.” Tear drops started pooling on the floor beneath Tony. He reached up and gently placed his hand on the corpse that laid in front of him. “To do what I needed to do to win this quickly, I knew that meant you and I would probably never speak again. Or be be friends again. Or partners again. I told myself I was okay with it because I knew I was right and I--I knew it was saving lives.” He closed his heavy eyelids, trying to hold back the sadness that welled in his soul. But he knew it was useless. “It was!! It was the right thing to do! And--and--and I was willing to willing to get in bed with the people we despise to get this done. And I knew the world favors the underdog and that I would be the badguy. I KNEW this and I said I was okay with it. And--and even though I said...Even though I said I was going to go all the way with it...I wasn’t.” Tony started clenching his helmet tighter and tighter, causing it to dent more and more the longer he did so.
“And--And I know this because the worst has happened. The thing I can’t live with has happened. And for all our back and forth, and all the things we’ve said and done to each other...For all the hard questions I had to ask, and terrible lies I’ve had to tell...There’s one thing that I’ll never be able to tell anyone now. Not my friends, or my co-workers, or my president...The one thing!! The one thing I should have told you. But now I can’t…”
“It wasn’t worth it.”