(For context, this is an MCU AU where the team is put together more slowly...)
Magneto pauses. Even from this distance Steve can see the thin, severe line of his mouth, puzzled. “Who are you?”
“Cap, what are you doing?” Clint’s voice over the comm is calm as ever, but Steve knows he’s pushing the man out of his comfort zone a bit. Well, he’s going to have to get used to that on Steve’s team.
“I’m Captain America,” Steve answers Magneto. He holds left his arm up with his fingers in a fist, gloved knuckles back and facing the agents arrayed behind him. Hold. “We should talk.”
“Cap, seriously, what are you—”
“At ease, Barton.” Coulson’s order silences Clint immediately. “If the Captain wants to talk to the most well-known mutant terrorist in the world, we let him.” Steve wishes he knew how to read that dry tone yet, whether Phil means the words or not.
Right now, it doesn’t matter.
“I knew a man who called himself that once,” Magneto declares, voice ringing out in the tense silence of the street. “You cannot be him.”
Steve can’t help it; he gives the man the same grin he’s given everyone who’s ever tried to count him out. “Try me.”
Magneto descends; the smashed cars and other bits of metal debris he’d been holding in mid-air slowly come to rest on the ground simultaneously to his feet hitting the pavement. He’s only a few feet away from Steve. “Let me see your face.”
Steve can’t quite identify a certain quality in the man’s voice, but it’s some thread he’s heard recently. Not sure if it’s a good idea but doing it anyway, he slowly pulls his cowl back and over his head. “You wanna return the favor, sir?”
Magneto doesn’t say a word, but he does take off the immense red and purple helmet.
“I don’t believe it.” Clint’s voice is honestly dumbstruck.
“Shut it, Barton.” But Coulson sounds strangely fond.
Magneto is an old man—very old, Steve is somehow surprised to see. In his SHIELD file, garbed in some sort of white prison uniform, he had looked austere and severe in a way that had reminded Steve of ancient Roman senators. Up close, however, his hair is more white than silver, the furrows of age in his face lending his craggy features an impression like erosion. Life, and time, have not been kind to this man.
“It is you,” Magneto breathes. “You were there—” He breaks off, and the next thing Steve knows is that he has been enveloped in a hug, that the old man is breathing raggedly with a sound like sobs.
“Um, what just happened?” Clint wants to know over the comm.
Anyway. Life remains ridiculous. Funny how fic helps, isn't it?