Guys, I'm so sorry that this took so long.
I really enjoyed writing this chapter, so I hope you like it.
Please let me know what you think!
It was the beach. Tony loved the beach, but something was off. There was something about the water that made it look… wrong somehow. It was dark - too dark. Tony dipped his hand into it and his fingers came back sticky. And red.
Then he realized what it was. It wasn't water, it was blood.
"What...?" he began to panic. He tried to get it off of his hand, but it clung to his fingers. It wouldn't go away!
There was a dark laugh from somewhere. "What's the matter, Tony?"
"You," Tony gasped. "Steve, listen-" He was cut off by another laugh.
"Listen? To you? I don't think so, Stark. I'm pretty sure you've lost your right to tell me to listen. How about you listen to me, okay?"
Steve came into view. He wore a uniform almost exactly like the one he had as an Avenger, but the colors were all wrong. Instead of bright patriotic blues and whites, his suit was tinted a dingy grey and red, and his shield was emblazoned with an angry red skull. Tony observed him silently, horror rising in his chest.
"Oh, wait," the soldier said, feigning surprise, "you're actually going to listen? I'm surprised. You never have before. Is it because of this?" he motioned to the Hydra symbol on his shield. "Does Hydra make you nervous? Why should it? I defeated Hydra." The former captain came forward, standing toe to toe with the shaken billionaire. "If I can do that, surely you can too. After all, everything special about me came out of a bottle."
Tony took a step back. "N-no, I never wanted any of this."
"It's a little late for that Stark," Steve said, approaching him again.
"I'm sorry-" he tried again, retreating even farther away from the soldier.
"No, you're not." Steve's approach was relentless. "Don't lie to yourself. Everyone knows you did it on purpose. You've hated me since the day you met me."
"No-" Tony felt his foot dip into something and looked behind him, finding himself right on the edge of the shore. He locked eyes with his friend, who had stopped advancing mere inches from him. There was a beat of silence, and all Tony could hear was his own panicked breathing.
"Goodbye Tony," Steve said, and he pushed Stark into the ocean of blood. "Hail Hydra."
Tony felt the liquid close around him. He tried to move, to keep his head up, but the blood pulled him down. He couldn't breathe. He was suffocating, drowning in blood. He was dying. So much blood. It covered his face. Red everywhere. It filled his lungs. He kept struggling, but he couldn't breathe.
She was on edge. How could she not be? Captain America had just attempted to kill her and the people she considered her family. But, she reminded herself, that wasn't Captain America. And, despite the monster's assurance, it wasn't Steve. Part of him was still there - she had seen it, if only for a moment. Steve didn't want to be doing this, but it didn't change the fact that it had been done.
Thankfully everyone seemed to be okay. Physically at least. Bruce had been out for most of it, but whatever he had been injected with had worn off. Clint had a concussion and a sprained arm. In all honesty, he was lucky. Natasha had a nasty bruise on her neck and still found it slightly difficult to breathe, but she had had worse. Tony appeared to be okay. A little roughed up, but not bad, considering.
However, it wasn't their physical health she was worried about. Bruce had locked himself in a Hulk-proof room and she occasionally heard loud crashing. Clint was somewhere in the vents, but she wasn't exactly sure where. And as for Tony, he had disappeared. He wasn't in the lab or his bedroom. She had no idea where he was, and Jarvis was of no help whatsoever. Every time she asked, he answered, "I apologize Ms Romanoff, but he has requested privacy for the time being." She knew he probably was not handling it well.
She didn't know what to do. Steve usually dealt with these things.
"Ms Romanoff," the AI interrupted, "I believe Master Stark requires some immediate assistance."
That didn't sound good. "Where is he?"
"He is in Captain Rogers' bedroom."
Of course! Why hadn't she thought to look there? Thanking the AI quickly, she sprinted to Steve's room.
"Tony?" she called, entering.
She couldn't stop the gasp that escaped her lips when she saw him. He was lying on the floor face up, surrounded by alcohol bottles, and choking.
She rushed over to him and rolled him over on his side. She struck him several times on the back as he vomited, wanting to make sure his airway was clear. When he finally stopped, she pulled him into her arms and held him there, glancing around for something she could use to clean his face.
"Jarvis, call Pepper. Tell her she needs to come home immediately."
The crisp voice responded immediately, "She has been informed of Master Stark's condition and should return within the hour."
Natasha held Tony close and found herself gently rocking him. As much as she hated herself for it, she couldn't stop the tears from falling. They were all so broken. They had lost Steve, and now she was afraid they were losing Tony.
She wasn't sure how much time had passed when he finally began to stir. Scooting back so they were clear of his mess, she laid Tony back on the ground and wiped away her tears.
"Wha 'appened?" he slurred, shielding his eyes from the light.
Natasha's tears were gone now, and her face was set in a firm glare. "You passed out. Nearly died choking on your own vomit."
He laughed roughly and struggled to his feet. "Well, why'dya stop it?"
"Tony-" Natasha stood as well, ready to catch him if he tipped over.
"Jus leave me 'lone," he said, and he staggered out of the room.
Natasha was left there in silence, mulling over what had just happened.
"Jarvis," she finally said, "keep an eye on Tony. Let me know if he goes for more alcohol or does anything... crazy," she finished quietly.
Well, things had just gone from bad to much, much worse.
Everything hurt. He had failed. His friend didn't like it when he failed. He wouldn't fail again. He wouldn't.
His eyes snapped open. He heard something. Someone was there. Steve peered through the darkness.
"I'm here to train you," a voice said. "You think too much. You don't need to think, you need to follow orders."
Steve didn't know who the dark shadow was,. but his voice sounded oddly familiar.
"Who are you?" he asked.
A light flashed on and the man came forward. His eyes seemed simultaneously hostile and empty. Brown hair fell almost to his shoulders, and his silver arm glinted in the bright light.
Steve knew this man. And he felt... sorrow. Anger. Fear.
"I'm the Winter Soldier," the man said. "I've been ordered to make you just like me."
Someone mentioned a while ago that I should bring in the Winter Soldier, so I decided I would try. If he seems out of character, PLEASE TELL ME. I'm not very good at writing him. Just tell me what needs to be changed and I will try to fix it.
As for Tony, I don't even know what happened. I Just thought "Hm, I should do a dream, sequence." then I started writing it and was like, "Hm, blood." then "Drowning in blood." Then "choking in real life while dreaming about it." (I feel like it's that glowing mind meme). But, as I said,I don't have much experience with drunk people.
Then you have compassionate Natasha and a suicidal Tony.
Sorry, I'm ranting about my own story, I just really liked writing this one.
Let me know what you think!