WARNING: Mentions of past suicidal thoughts and actions.
She stared, not knowing how to respond. Watching a brainwashed Captain America jump off a bridge hadn't really been on her to-do list for the day.
She rushed over to the edge and looked down, but she couldn't see anyone. The water below was still. Too still. She should have been able to see something, but she couldn't. Not Cap, and not the Winter Soldier. She felt a moment of panic, and the idea that they were both dead flitted through her mind.
No. They couldn't be dead. He couldn't be dead. They were stronger than that. A little water couldn't kill them.
"I'm going after them," Tony said, sounding panicked.
Just as Iron Man was about to dive down, the two soldiers' heads broke the surface of the water, and the Avengers felt a moment of relief, which was quickly followed by one of terror.
Without any warning, several helicopters rose out of the trees down below and came to hover over the super soldiers. A rope dropped down and Cap, holding tightly to the Winter Soldier, grabbed it and began to be pulled up.
"Stark!" Natasha yelled, but the Iron Man was already in the air.
Several Hydra agents appeared and began firing on them. Iron Man was hit and began spiralling towards the water. He was able to regain control of the suit, but not before Cap and the Winter Soldier were long gone.
The team was spread too thin. Cap was MIA, Thor was off-world, Bruce was still in the Quinjet, and Tony was grounded. Clint and Natasha were the only ones left. They were familiar with fighting their way out of a corner, but even so, it was hard work. They regretted killing the agents - maybe one of them could have led them to the base - but they didn't have much of a choice.
The Hydra agents had extracted whatever the special weapon was. the Avengers had lost Cap, again, and Iron Man had sustained too much damage to follow the helicopters.
The mission had been an utter failure.
The flight back was tense. There were only four of them, as Thor's return to Asgard had been just wonderfully timed. Tony wasn't even sure how he had left. Wasn't the Bifrost thingy broken? Whatever, it didn't matter.
Tony was tired and hung over. Not to mention sore. Sure, his suit offered him protection, but taking a weird energy blast thingy to the chest really didn't feel great.
And Bruce kept staring at him. It was really unnerving.
"Would you stop that?" he finally snapped, as they were about five minutes away from Avengers Tower.
Natasha looked at him, expression somewhere between annoyed and confused. "Stop what?"
"Bruce is staring at me. I know I'm gorgeous, but even I need a break from onlookers every once in a while," he rolled his eyes.
Bruce growled slightly. "Then maybe you should think about that next time before you try to-," Bruce cut himself off, glancing between Tony and Natasha. "Nevermind."
Tony could practically see Natasha's ears perk up. "Try to what?"
"Nothing. It doesn't matter," Bruce said. He cast a concerned look at his friend and didn't push it any further,but Tony was done.
"No. What Bruce? Come on. What? Before I tried to what? Because you are one to judge. It's alright for you to try and put a bullet through your brain, but if I think about putting myself out of my misery, suddenly it's not ok!"
They had landed at the Tower by now and all eyes were on him. Clint, now free from the pilot's seat, watched the scene unfold with eyes wide and a slightly parted mouth. Natasha had her lips pressed together in a thin line, not betraying anything, and Bruce looked like the Hulk was about to make a visit.
"Sure, I tried," he said tightly, his eyes a dangerous shade of green. "I tried when I had no one. You have people here who care about you. Jumping off your own building? Really? That's the way you want to go? It's selfish Tony. Selfish of you to even think about it."
"Well you're not me!" Tony shouted back. "Tony Stark being selfish, what a shocker! Ask anyone, they'll tell you. So what, I had too much to drink last night? Not the first time. So what, I realized that the world would be better without Tony Stark?" His voice dropped suddenly, and then in a small voice he finished, "And you all know I'm right."
He turned and exited the jet, ignoring the shocked silence behind him.
The Winter Sold- Bucky... His name was Bucky.
Bucky had remembered him. He had seen it in his eyes. But his... his friends? No that wasn't right. Enemies? Maybe? They were displeased. He and Bucky had failed, and he and Bucky had remembered.
They had to be punished. No, that wasn't right.
They took Bucky first. There was a machine. He remembered that machine. He had only been in it once, but it hurt. Oh, did it hurt.
Then he heard it.
Bucky. James Buchanan Barnes. Bucky. His best friend. His best friend from Brooklyn. A Howling Commando. Bucky. His friend who died in the war. Bucky.
And they were hurting his Bucky.
No one was allowed to do that.
And suddenly, he wasn't just a soldier.
No, he was more than that.
He was Captain America.
He was Steve Rogers.
And No One.
Was allowed to hurt Bucky.
That was something he was sure of.
With a roar, he broke free from the two guards holding him back.
Captain America didn't like bullies.
And no one hurt Bucky and got away with it.
Yeah! Cap's back. Kind of sort of :)
You'll have to keep reading to find out what happens next!
I know I kind of left Tony depressed again, but we all know it's true, right?
But, yeah, left it on a different note than usual, that's a plus...
As always, let me know what you think! Will Tony snap out of his depression? Will Steve be able to save Bucky? Will either of them get out alive?
Find out more next week!