This deals with suicide, so if that bothers you, turn back now.

Disclaimer: All characters are © Marvel. No profit is being made from this work.


Last of Days
You won't call it a peaceful feeling. Peaceful doesn't hurt so much.


it's only been a few months since that day. none of the pro-registration heroes who knew steve are dealing well with his death, but at least they aren't falling apart. you hold it together on the outside, though, because you have no other choice, and because you owe it to him. but you feel it. you see it. the two of you, this was your city. he always loved that park. you fought the wrecking crew together in that plaza. that was your favourite café, and he almost always ordered the blueberry cobbler. it's the little things that cut into you. every breath is another memory.

--

it happens, as you knew it would. you've screwed up again, but this time, steve isn't there to shield you with his infallible belief in people, even people like you. but you knew that they were more steve's family than yours, didn't you? you knew it would happen eventually, that you'd be finally left alone. you were the emotional charity case. they tolerated you and all of your mistakes—not because of your money, the way some people think, but because steve wouldn't let you go, no matter how many times you fell to pieces and dragged everyone else down with you. he loved you once, you know that, but you'll never know why.

--

everything you've fought for is nothing in the face of what you've lost. what the world has lost. there's a hole inside of you that will never, never close. the alternatives were worse, so much worse. you knew it then and you know it now, and you know how high the death toll would have been if you hadn't committed. but all you can think about is how he asked you to join him, and that maybe if you'd said yes, even if the world had burned down around you, he'd still be a part of it. you hate yourself for that, for wishing you'd given in. you hate yourself for walking away.

--

he's there when you sleep. sometimes he yells at you, the way he's sometimes done in the past, when you've spectacularly failed to live up to the expectations only steve ever seemed to have for you. sometimes he'll strike out at you. it hurts you down to your soul, even in the dream—but always, always you let it happen, because it means he's there. but you still have to wake up. you still have to look at your hands and see all the blood that won't come off. he was everything to you.

--

you don't want to wake up anymore. it's not so much that you want to die as it is that you want the hurting to stop. you want to pretend that you'll hold on, that you won't give in, but you're so tired. you're so damned tired. you've killed the only people who were too stubborn to see the sense in walking away from you, and the blood on your hands is creeping up your arms, as deep in it as you are. so is it selfish to wish that at least one person would still be on your side? is it selfish to want someone to give half a damn? yes. you destroy everything you touch. you've tried so hard, but there's nothing else you can do that won't make things worse. you don't want to hurt anyone else. you don't want to hurt anymore.

--

you've always found something elegant in a carefully written program. the coding is crisp and clean, mapping out a specific course on which to run. you can literally write it with your eyes closed, now. after all, it exists only in your head. it takes you very little time to write the program, simple and straightforward as it is. you come back to yourself, to your body, and listen for a moment, but you can't hear anything. or, more specifically, anyone. the penthouse is silent and empty. scant months ago, there would have been sound; a conversation in the living room, a debate in the kitchen. his voice, drifting down the hall. laughing.

--

shutdown sequence.

--

the sheets on your bed seem strangely warm as you curl up under them. you feel calmer than you have in weeks, months. you won't call it a peaceful feeling. peaceful doesn't hurt so much. but everything's so quiet now, inside. quiet enough that the memories sound almost clear enough to be real. if you close your eyes, it's almost like being there again. even now, you're not delusional; you know it's not truly real. people embellish memories without meaning to, adding details and blurring facts, until the recollection is something better than it ever truly was. in the end, memories are just echoes that will fade away in time. but a memory isn't such a terrible thing to be.

--

execute program.