Tony had always considered the saying hearing snow fall as something made up by hopeless romantics. As he laid in a broken Iron Man suit in an abandoned HYDRA bunker in the middle-of-nowhere Siberia, he managed to find some comfort in the satisfaction that he had been right. About something. For once.
There hadn't been any words since his demand for his father's shield, a bitter and broken request thrown like a half-hearted punch at the end of a fight already lost. There hadn't been any sounds since Steve's tiredly triumphant footsteps and the careless clang of the shield hitting the ground, throwing away so much more than the symbol of a hero. There hadn't been anything but silence, definitely no sounds of snow falling.
A laugh forced out of his frozen lips, loud and anything but joyous. It contorted into a choked cry crashing through his crushed chest. Tears solidified to ice, clumping his lashes together and catching on his cheeks. He tried lifting up a hand to wipe them away but could not. The disabled armor was now a restraint and would soon be his coffin.
This was the end, he knew with a certainty that felt final. He hadn't told anyone where he was heading, per Sam's insistence at the Raft. FRIDAY had gone offline hours ago, and with her system purposefully limited to prevent acting without orders and Tony without the means to communicate with her, no reinforcement was coming. Eventually someone would notice he was missing, maybe Rhodey or Vision or Pepper, but his time was running out fast. Too fast. At least he would be going out in style, wrapped in two hundred and fifty pounds of gold-titanium alloy.
As his eyes drifted closed, moments and memories of his life flashed through his mind, a glitched slideshow outlining all of his wrong choices and bad decisions.
His last thought was a self-deprecating I really should have known better.
A fierce roar shook him back into consciousness. The New York skyline greeted him and his mouth tasted like ash.
Another roar focused his attention and Tony couldn't quite suppress a flinch at the sight of Steve towering over him, clad in his Captain America uniform but, thankfully, without his shield.
A quick scan of his surroundings located a relieved Thor and a pleased Hulk, a wrecked city and a familiar tower, a clear sky and a functioning suit.
"What the hell?" He mumbled, mostly to himself.
"We won." Steve said, sounding impossibly young.
Tony let his head fall back against the gravel, listening to the hum of the arc reactor in his chest. This is one hell of a flashback.