Yo Guys! Jasper Blood here, and ready to rock the world of Captain America! Ugh… that sounded terribly corny, didn't it? Ah well, I'm a corny person. Ok, long story short, I fell in love (literally) with Hugo Weaving's amazing portrayal of the Red Skull in the 2011 Captain America the First Avenger film: that which I purchased and watched yesterday, and have been rewinding and replaying all the scenes with Johann Schmidt in them. So, as you can see, this fic focuses on the Red Skull and the American forces AFTER Captain America in a world where Schmidt did NOT die. Hint, hint; also involves a few OCs of my own creation. This first chapter is an introduction to how Schmidt became the Red Skull.

Enjoy and PLEASE REVIEW!

Regards,

J.B

Berlin, Germany- 1936

Rain spattered like blood against the leaded windows; a dying fire emitted its last gasp of hot embers in the looming stone hearth and the hollow thud of a book-cover falling shut echoed about the room. Sparsely furnished and yet richly decorated, it held no absolute meaning. Simply that it belonged to a young man with no real significance. His significance laid in the eyes of the Fuhrer, yet his fame or his accomplishments withered away in his great shadow. To the people, he didn't exist. No one was aware of his name, his genius, his desires.

But – tonight, that was to change. He eyed the needle with a sick fascination, licking his lips hungrily as if a vampire preparing to feed. No second thoughts erupted in his mind process as perhaps would be the case with any other human. But to Johann Schmidt, he didn't qualify as any other human. No, he was far from that. Humanity was such a failing race, a weak, greedy, and so inexplicably stupid breed of creatures. They were made to populate the earth and nothing more.

But he was already superior to a race that he considered of the intelligence of ape-men, as intellectually advanced as the fly that buzzed listlessly about the air. The odd-looking blue liquid sloshed about the vial, bubbling and fizzing like a pent-up spirit, longing to be released. He smirked at it; not a trace of fear inhabited his veins and he removed a smoldering cigarette butt from his mouth, allowing a cloud of grey smoke to billow from his lips.

He closed his eyes briefly, inhaling the remains of the musty tobacco smoke, as if taking in some strength from it, and licked his lips once again, allowing that same haughty smirk to grace his mouth. He removed the protective seal from the vial, revealing the sharp tip of the needle, and without so much as a last thought, he plunged the tip into his forearm, the searing sting of the liquid penetrating his bloodstream causing him to shudder with a deep satisfaction. He opened his eyes to watch the vial empty and with a delicate grip, he removed the needle's tip, flexing his arm as delicious strength coursed through his veins at rapid speed. He felt like a God, at long last separated from a race that he so vehemently despised.

Slowly he stood up, easing himself towards the small mahogany chest where a crystal decanter sat, filled with amber liquid. The sudden motion made him feel as if his head were made of stone. A bit of brandy… yes. He selected an intricately carved glass and lifted the decanter to pour, but his hands shook violently, sloshing the liquid about. His eyes rolled back almost feverishly, but he adjusted his gaze and attempted to lift the bottle again. It lifted very slightly off the chest, only to shatter against the tiles in moments, his fingers slipping from the glass as if possessed.

He mumbled a swear and reached to pick up the shards of glass. As he bent down, an overwhelming sensation of nausea drifted over him and again his eyes rolled back and the strength poured out of him like the brandy in the decanter. The images below him blurred and convulsed like thousands of serpents, the colors blended together with the lights, the pouring rain, the dying fire, everything lost shape as…

He stumbled once trying to move, but the sensation was too much for him to bear now. His eyes flickered closed and as if his body was in slow-motion, he toppled forth. The world went black.

XXX

Sight slowly filtered into his retinas, the odd sensations disappearing with the blackness. Slowly he rose, his head still heavy, his eyes still somewhat blurred. He stumbled into the powder room, grasping the faucet and turning the cold water, splashing it vigorously against his face. He hung his head over the sink, breathing heavily. For only a moment, a thought flashed before his eyes. What if the serum hadn't worked? What if it had been a dud? Had that fool Erskine tricked him? Had…

An odd tingling sensation began in his fingers, rapidly traveling up his arms and into his spine and all over his body. Perhaps it was an aftereffect; the serum was strengthening him little by little… perhaps…

He howled in pain as fire burst in his veins – not just a fiery pain. Real, tangible, bright orange flames exploded from his flesh, singing away the hairs and blasting away the skin like it was merely a tissue-paper sheen over his body. The sickening stench of burning flesh bloomed as red spots danced before his irises. He watched as if in some other world as the fire spread up his arms, zigzagging over his chest and climbing up his neck until it spiraled onto his lips and inside him. And he screamed.

As if disconnected from himself, he watched silently as his body became engulfed in flame, and he could hear his howls echo across the walls. And all the while, he could feel the agony, feel his body writhing; begging God for mercy, but no one came. He screamed and wept but no sound escaped his lips. He was doomed to watch his body burn away and be mutilated forever. And before his flaming body, stood a man. Perfectly Arian skin, blond hair and blue eyes. He smiled and walked away; leaving Johann's dying screams in the distance as he departed.

That night, Johann Schmidt became only a name, without meaning, as the body it inhabited, died that night.

That night, he became.

The Red Skull.