a/n: so looking over this and, in my opinion, it's starting to look terrible. I would quite like, at some point, to go over it and rewrite it and fix all of the God-awful mistakes I made. I way over-woobied Steve and dkgddkjdjl

At least I tried with the scene though, so that was one thing.

I'm pleased that it's still garnering interest as well as the dust. I've actually got a few other Avengers fics that I started and never finished, but as I'm in-between fandoms at the moment (my friend, forever nicknamed 'Enjy' now just because, made me obsessed with Les Misérables and I'll never forgive her for that. George Blagden oh my god.) and the amount of 'Suits' fanfictions I've started but never completed is just pitiful.

No doubt, on Friday (I think it's Friday for me), when Iron Man 3 comes out, I'll be forced right back into the Avengers fandom and I can finally revise this whole thing and be done with it at some point. At a point where maybe one day I can actually write the characters correctly. Thank you all for showing interest in it despite its quite obvious issues and I promise I'll make it better at some point.

Now I need to disappear because Enjy just reblogged more George Blagden for me on tumblr and I can't handle it.

(note: I totally didn't revise this chapter. I wanted to update to let people know that I'm still alive and that I love you guys but I only got half-way through reading this before I cringed and decided just to post it. I swear I'll revise this whole thing.)


"Captain Rogers."

Steve jumped but, after a minute, recognised the cool British accent. His body hadn't . . . attacked him in an hour or two (and he'd consumed all of the water in the jug next to his bedside) and he was relieved that he could hear something other than the echoes of his screaming and sobbing or, even worse, the dead white line of silence.

"JARVIS."

"I have a record of the past eight hours since I began re-recording on Mr. Stark's request. Would you like me to show it to him?"

"N-no. JARVIS . . . please don't let him—them—know that I'm . . . hurt."

"What should I tell Mr. Stark should he ask again?"

"'Again'?"

"Mr. Stark and Dr. Banner have already requested to view the security footage. Unfortunately, it seems my and the S.H.I.E.L.D. mainframe's memory banks have been tampered with."

"Someone . . . wow. Tony's working to find out who, right? Memory banks sound important."

"Memory banks are very important, Captain Rogers. At this moment in time, Mr. Stark is sleeping. What should I tell him should he ask for the security footage? Any deletions will be noted and, therefore, traceable."

"Can't you just . . . not let him?"

"Mr. Stark could easily find a way to access the files himself or override your command."

"Right." Steve looked uncomfortable. "Please, you could say anything, just don't let anyone see me . . . crying or screaming or . . . just don't let them see anything but me being healthy."

"Yes, Captain Rogers, as you wish."

"And, uh, JARVIS, could you tell me what's . . . what's happening to me? Dr. Banner's said something about it, right?"

". . ."

"JARVIS?"

"I cannot disclose that kind of information, Captain. My apologies."

"Director Fury."

Coulson looked absolutely lost.

"Yes?" Fury turned to look at him, expression softer than usual.

"We're losing them."

"Why are there bloodstains on these sheets, Bruce?"

Bruce looked up from his microscope (again) and shared a look with Clint, who was staring at a monitor with a deep scowl on his face.

Natasha looked between the two.

"Still don' wanna talk 'bout it," Clint muttered.

"You're scratching your bandages," Bruce pointed out.

"Bandages?" Natasha didn't look happy. "What happened, Clint?"

"Um, she looks angry. Bruce~! You can deal with it!" Clint continued to scowl at the screen, but his face had gone white.

Bruce held up his hands, palms facing Natasha, fingers spread in a gesture of peace. "Studying."

Pepper stormed into Tony's S.H.I.E.L.D. lab, hands on her hips, Rhodey just behind her.

"TONY!"

Tony jerked awake from where he'd been lying on at his desk, notes scattered in front of him. As he woke, his immediately put a hand forward to check for the Arc Reactor. Pepper almost looked guilty.

"Yeah." Tony rubbed his eyes. "'M awake."

Rhodey leaned forward and placed a cup of coffee that looked like it'd come straight from the S.H.I.E.L.D. canteen straight onto his desk, right in front of him.

"You're a god, Rhodey."

Rhodey smiled, but it looked slightly more like a smirk (he'd obviously been learning).

"So, Tony . . . it's been about three days. Where thehell have you been?!"

"Pep, I've been working on . . . wait! You don't know about our . . . problem?"

"What 'problem'?"

Tony turned his attention to his phone, which was lying on the desk next to him. "JARVIS, why didn't you tell Pepper?"

"I was deleting my information to save my entire mainframe being corrupted by what Mr. Barton has referred to as a 'computer sexually transmitted disease'. I'm sorry, sir, Ms. Potts." JARVIS's tone was bordering on homicidal and Tony wondered when he'd programmed that attitude onto him.

"Right, yeah." Tony shrugged. "Maybe I should just show you . . ."

"Captain Rogers is currently asleep," JARVIS commented quickly. "I would not recommend walking him at this."

"No? How's Bruce? Maybe he could explain it. You know me; bad with sensitive . . . stuff."

"Dr. Banner is also asleep, per Mr. Barton's orders."

"God . . ." Tony sighed and wiped his eyes with his hands.

"What's going on Tony?" Rhodey asked.

"Well . . . Cap's super-serum isn't exactly working," Tony replied. "It's fading away and that means no more Captain America."

"What?"

Tony sighed. "Bruce and I—well, mostly Bruce—are working on re-making the super-serum. Or a cure for what's happening."

"Does Steve know?" Pepper had her 'serious' face on (the face that meant Tony had planned another party and she had to do casualty and damage control, or that Tony had almost destroyed the company ["Again~" Tony would sing-song in a falsetto voice] and she would have to pick up the pieces) and that meant that Tony was only slightly (okay, lots of slightly) afraid of her.

"No. And it's going to stay that way."

"He'll figure it out, Tony; he's not dumb. And how do you plan to keep it a secret for much longer? If he's in the hospital, which I bet is where S.H.I.E.L.D. stuck him, then how long are you going to be able to keep him there without telling him why?"

"He's not going to find out. He's not going to leave the hospital. And he's not going to have to be there much longer. We're going to fix this."

"Tell me, Shield-Brother, how do you feel?"

Steve looked up to Thor. "I feel good. Better, anyway." It was true. He'd made it through the night with no serious pains except for one sort-of minor episode which ended in a black-out. Plus, the wound on his abdomen was starting to heal and he'd feel better once it was gone.

"Have you been in any pain?"

"Uh . . . no." Steve averted his eyes from the other blonde.

"I grew up with the God of Lies, Steven; I can tell when you are lying also." Thor didn't look mean, or judgemental, or demand to know why he had lied though, so felt less ashamed.

He glanced at his hands. "I'm meant to be the leader, right? Leaders don't . . ."

"Everyone is allowed to be weak, Steven. The Allfather, my father, he cannot always be strong, so he gathers all of his strength during a period of rest. The Odinsleep. Perhaps you mortals must find a way to gather your strength as he does." Thor patted his friend's shoulder.

A burning sensation ran from Steve's shoulder down his entire body. He clenched his teeth and tears sprung into his eyes.

"Brother?"

Steve breathed heavily. Finally he managed to give Thor a weak smile. He hoped it didn't look as pathetic and sore as he felt.

"I'm sorry, Brother." Thor indeed did look sorry. He looked so guilty that it made Steve feel guilty.

"No, no, it's fine, Thor. Reminds me that I'm still alive." It was meant to be reassuring, or something to that extent, but it came out as slightly bitter and slightly upset.

"Are you alright, Steven?"

"No." Steve looked back down at the cotton sheets he was lying on. Standard S.H.I.E.L.D. hospital cotton sheets. Not itchy or scratchy but nearly always covered with blood so not expensive either. "I just want someone to tell me what's happening. All I know is that it hurts every few hours and I feel sick now and no one is telling me anything and they're all acting like I'm going to die and it's scaring me. They won't let me leave the medical bay. The whole team were here when I was first put in. Tony and Clint visited once each and this is the second time you've been here but other than that I've been alone and if I am going to die, because everyone seems to treat me like I am, then I really would prefer to die with people around me."

Steve didn't realise there were tears running down his face until Thor wiped one of them away with calloused fingers.

"Worry not, brother," he said, "I will speak to the others. I have been thoroughly assured that this is nothing life-threatening but I will convince the others to come down and spend time with you, to wish you well in your recovery."

". . . Thanks, Thor. That means a lot."