Steve's head was absolutely killing him when he first started rising to awareness. It was an all-encompassing pain that completely wrapped around his skull and rendered him useless of any coherent thought. It took what felt like hours in order for him to remember what breathing felt like. Things slowly started to piece together as the seconds throbbed by. There was a warm wetness dribbling out of his ear. Somewhere he realized that that wasn't a good sign, a strong indicator of a bad head wound.
Hell, he couldn't remember the last time he had been brought down by an injury. Maybe a stray bullet wound or something, but his new uniform never let that happen.
It hadn't always been that indestructible, but he couldn't think of why that stood out.
His hands were cold. All of him was cold. He was freezing.
Steve hated being cold.
Goosebumps rose on his skin, and he curled his fingers, scraping against a solid floor and small pebbles.
His pulse pounded in his ears, every rush of blood making him worry that it was falling out of his brain. He lethargically shifted his legs, a sharp pain shooting up his spine, but they still moved. A foolish twitch made him release a noise that was incredibly undignified, but he felt like someone was drilling into his head with a screwdriver.
He had to check on his team. If he was this bad off then things had really crashed and burned.
Slowly, painfully, his dragged his eyelids open. The dirty ceiling was spinning rapidly above him. He grunted and rolled to his side. The action doubled the throbbing in his head and left him a limp, exhausted mess; his cheek mashed on the floor and his breath wheezed from his lungs.
He couldn't think straight. Everything hurt.
But he had people to look out for, so he stiffly pushed himself to a sitting position with one arm. Oh, God, his head really was going to leak out of his body, probably fall through his nose into a puddle on the floor. His eyes had closed against the daggers that were accosting his nerves, so he wrenched them open. His vision shook violently, but he lurched to his hands and knees anyway.
The lighting was dim, but still managed to blind him.
Nausea bubbled in his throat, hot and acidic. Steve shivered hard, trying to quell it. He wouldn't throw up. He always hated it, had spent countless days curled over a toilet before the serum.
Steve looked down, dizzy beyond belief, and absently patted his blood-soaked shoulder. It must have run down from his ear.
His head flared in such pain that he crumpled to his left. His directional skills were shot. Hell, everything was shot. What had happened?
Steve coughed and wiped at his eyes, probably leaving red streaks on his lids. Blinking widely, his surroundings which were hovering in two pieces slid together.
He saw Bruce first.
The man was sprawled on back, just feet from where Steve was. A rush of adrenaline had him crawling towards the limp figure of his friend.
"Bruce," he muttered, voice cracking.
He leaned closer, everything still too blurry to be reliable.
There was a knife sticking out of Bruce's chest.
Steve's heart thundered to a stop. He lurched forward, fingers tapping the weapon. It was in Bruce's body to the hilt. Blood had bubbled around the entry wound, soaking his shirt. Dread deadened his limbs, and he clumsily prodded under his friend's jaw. Cold skin and glazed eyes that were wide open met him.
Steve's stomach rolled.
Just another tick on the list of dead faces he'd seen.
Tremors almost took control of his hand, but he managed to carefully palm Bruce's eyelids shut.
There had to be a way out. If they got in they could get out.
Steve heaved a strangled breath and crawled forward. He was moving too fast, because a sheet of black rapidly blanketed everything. He nearly took a header into the cement floor when his hand ran into a boot.
Blood was everywhere. There wasn't a single inch on Clint's face that wasn't coated in red. White bone was visible on the archer's forehead. Skull. That was Clint's skull. Steve saw the lump sticking out of his arm. Hit him where it hurts. Death was the destination but torture was the journey. Steve's gaze numbly wandered down.
She slumped over Clint's chest, his other broken arm slung over her back. A last embrace of a pair of soul-mates. Steve had never understood their relationship, didn't get how two people could live in each other's pockets but not be in love. Or so they claimed.
He knew there'd be an emptiness when he searched for her pulse. When his searching fingers sunk an inch into her throat, he figured out how she died.
Steve turned away, immeasurably exhausted, and finally threw up.
Pain roared against his temples. The world tilted and spun on its axis. He almost tipped over on his side, head falling to his chin, but he overcompensated and surged forward and to his left. His arms flared in pain, like fire was wrapping around his biceps, and he groaned through clenched teeth, practically screamed.
The agony in his head tripled, and Steve tensed, every nerve seizing. Something wasn't right. He was dying. He had to be dying. It wasn't possible for someone to suffer this much.
A strange numbness washed over him like a cold shower.
Steve started laughing and stopped when he realized tears were running down his face.
He turned, sloppily moving forward.
The arc reactor in his chest was gone. All it would take to kill him. He probably suffocated to death alone. He still had his watch on, a Rolex that probably cost more than Steve's old apartment. It glinted off the dirty light bulb hung overhead. The time on it had stopped.
The last of the great Stark empire was dead.
Thor was facedown next to Tony.
Steve didn't even bother.
Everything he had left evaporated.
Steve fell to his back in a graceless tumble.
They were dead.
Mom. Dad. Bucky. Howard. Peggy. The Howling Commandos. Tony. Bruce. Clint. Natasha. Thor.
He was trapped. Of course they left him alive. The one person who didn't mind dying forced to stick it through.
Steve let his head drop to the side, hand drifting up to his ear, warm blood seeped over his fingers. At least it was a bad one. He wasn't even close to coherent.
And they were dead.
He made the mistake of sniffing, trying to breathe through his nose, and all he smelled was rust and burned skin. It permeated throughout his brain. It was freezing, but the stench encased the room like it was over a hundred degrees. Steve choked on it, more bile rising in his throat. He stared at his finger, the one covered in Natasha's blood.
His throat seized, becoming tight and then he was losing control.
Suddenly he was crying and everything smelled like death and his head was killing him. People were screaming. Lights were flaring. He was getting attacked and pulled and ripped apart. Fingers were digging into his brain. They were all dead. What was the point? He was trapped. He blinked rapidly, and suddenly the world was dipped in ice. There was a rattling noise. He was having a seizure. He had to be. Arms and legs weren't supposed to move like that, without his permission.
There was a lot of yelling and machines whirring and things were attached to him.
Suction cups were on his head and his chest. Wires were everywhere. The light was blindingly bright. He got his hands around them and ripped them off.
Everyone was dead.
The people were trying to touch him.
Steve lurched away from the contact. He flailed in midair, and then landed with a bone-crunching thud on the floor. He scrambled to his hands and knees, desperately trying to get to his feet so he could run. He had to get out. They killed everyone. He just wanted out.
Hands were on his back and arms. The voices were frantic, loud.
He twisted from the touches, suddenly too alive and too dead all at once. He found his footing and hazardously lunged for the open doorway.
"Steve! – going for—door! I can't catch—Thor!"
Steve was halfway to his escape, so close to freedom, when an arm wrapped around his middle and bodily lifted him away from his only opportunity. He tried to wrestle his way out of the grip, but the figure seemed unaffected. That was wrong because no human could match him.
He was set down. Sliding down the wall, Steve curled towards the floor, on his knees, face in his hands. Everyone was dead. This was wrong. He didn't know what was going on. But he had been there. There were more hands and he couldn't breathe and his lungs wouldn't work and—.
"Steve! Hey, hey, hey! Look at me! Hey, you're alright!" The voice was painfully familiar, concerned. "Jesus, he's hyperventilating. C'mon Steve, listen to me! Just look at me!"
"Tony, quit yelling. You're scaring him. He's confused."
The room was hushed. Surprisingly gentle hands landed on his heaving shoulders. They carefully ran down his biceps, then up his forearms, slowly, like they were waiting for his reaction, finally peeling away his fingers. "Steve," the man started. It wasn't Tony. Tony was dead. "Steve, wherever you were, whatever you saw, it wasn't real."
Steve took a shuddering breath.
"It was a simulation. We don't know who did it. Clint found you on the living room floor. They injected some sort of hallucinogen into your bloodstream. Wasn't real, I promise."
Steve let his hands fall from his face, planting them on the ground. He kept his head down, unwilling to meet anyone's eyes. He'd been tricked.
They were alive, though.
"Steve?" He looked up, just to catch the warm brown of Bruce's eyes, ten times better than the dead ones he'd seen before.
Steve brushed his hand over his face, embarrassment marred his features and he hastily wiped away the wetness on his cheeks.
"Sorry," he whispered.
A calloused thumb swept a stray tear. "No harm, no foul."
Bruce gave him that ever-present calm smile and it was so wonderful to see Steve nearly started crying again.
"What did you see, Captain?" Thor's voice rumbled from above him, warm and alive.
Steve's breath caught as he looked up, eyes stopping at the familiar blue glow of Tony's arc reactor. He reached out, curling his fingers against the cool metal, dropping his head back into the hand that dug into his hair. "All died."
"Us?" Clint asked.
Steve let out all of his breath with one big whoosh, tipping into the wall and sliding out from under his legs. "Yeah," he muttered. He closed his eyes, thoroughly exhausted, emotionally and physically. A warm hand landed on his jaw, tapping his face briskly.
"Well, we're not," Tony said.
Steve wearily opened his eyes, letting them drift over his team. They were all breathing, and all looked concerned. The sight of that was such an overwhelming rush of relief he nearly hit the floor again. He started falling forward when a strong grip on his arm tugged him up. "Whoa, buddy. Let's get you up."
After several stumbles and near-crash landings, Steve was set down on his bed. He turned into the mountain of pillows with a deep sigh. He heard several kindhearted chuckles before he sunk into sleep without hesitation.
His sorely needed rest didn't last long. His dreams were dark and vivid. He saw flashes of everyone. All the blood and wounds and empty eyes haunted him. He saw the knife in Bruce's chest, the garish red of Clint's face, Natasha's slit throat. Adrenaline ran around his stomach and up through his heart. Steve sat up with a strangled yell and looked around.
A heavy blanket fell from his shoulders as Steve pushed it to the end of his bed and started towards his bathroom. Soft yellow light bathed his skin, and he noticed the fine shakes that were taking over his hands and arms. He splashed water over his face, trying to calm his increasing heart rate.
They all died. His stomach flipped and Steve exited the bathroom, heading towards the main floor. It was horribly childish, but he really didn't want to be alone. He just wanted to make sure. His bare feet padded quietly on the carpeted stairs as he made his way towards the main floor. He could hear voices coming from the living room. Tony had a ridiculously large television set that Steve still couldn't figure out how to work.
He came around the corner, saw every sprawled over various couches and chairs, and even Thor, laid out over a beanbag chair.
"I…" he started.
Tony waved a dismissive hand and gestured towards the couch. "Do come enjoy the masterpiece that is Mary Poppins."
Steve picked his way through the maze of people, passing rising and falling chests, beating hearts and the whispered sounds of conversation. He sat down in between Tony and Bruce and started to watch a lovely story about magic and kind babysitters with nice voices.
He was half-asleep when Thor said something ridiculous about flying with the use of an umbrella and his entire team laughed. He was probably turning to mush, but it was a beautiful sound. Tony pushed him over on his side some time later, telling him to, "Go to sleep, pill-popper."
Bruce interrupted, "He was injected, actually."
"Hey, no comments from the peanut gallery."
Steve barely heard Thor's next statement. "Where is this gallery of nuts?"
He fell asleep after that.
When he woke up the next morning, everyone was still there.
The end and stuff. Have any of you seen Push? It has Chris Evans as the lead along with Dakota Fanning. It's about all these people with super powers. Chris has the power of telekinesis. Anyways, they're running from this government agency that wants to kill them, when Chris gets his ass kicked. So he's taken to this room, and he's laid out and there's a lady with the power to heal people. Well, she's starts healing him and he's apparently in massive amounts of pain, but he turns his head and breathes, and it echoes throughout the city, blowing out candles and stuff.
It was delightful. Perfect imagery. Watch it. It's on Youtube. Not that you care...But it does give one crazy good ChrisEvansFeels. Anyways, thanks for reading! :)
I know there are a lot of run-on sentences, but I was trying to show how confused he was throughout this entire experience. For the sake of the fact that I can't develop an extensive plot line, this is a one-shot!
Done with the rambles.