Disclaimer: All original characters and such belong to Marvel.

Summary: Something besides his own enhanced abilities helped Steve Rogers survive being frozen. Or rather, someone.

Chronology: Just before the end of Captain America

Pairings: None for the moment

Rating: K

Author's Note: I'm having a hard time seeing how Cap could've survived being frozen all that time without some sort of craziness going on. Please forgive any canon errors and such – Starkreactor is still tutoring me in the ways of Marvel.


The Light in the Ice

As the icy ground got closer and closer, Steve thought of Peggy and closed his eyes and pretended tomorrow would be like any other day.

He didn't feel the impact of the ship knifing into the ice and snow.

But the Tesseract did.

Miles away, deep under the ocean, and the Cube knew. It knew more than anyone had ever given it credit for. But it had little choice but to remain neutral, through all the beings throughout space and time who had sought to use it for its own purposes. It had been on the right side of innumerable wars. It had been on the wrong side of innumerable wars. There had been many so many instances where it had wanted to change something – but the wanting would not have been enough. It was old and one with the universe and time and it was locked it inside its own timeline.

There was nothing it could do as Steve's body was tossed against the metal innards of the ship and the ice began to swallow everything, sending the temperature plummeting by the second.

Usually.

The explosion on board that ship had shaken something of the very fabric of space and time, and the Tesseract felt unusually almost free. It knew it could not last, and even at that moment it could feel the universe stitching the wound back together. It had moments in which it could act, and because it knew more about every being it came into contact with than they knew about themselves, it knew precisely what to do.

The beam of blue light it sent racing to the crash site was swift and imperceptible even to the most advanced satellites orbiting the planet.

The beam found its object as the Tesseract shared its very essence with the man dying inside the downed ship. It embraced his body and absorbed itself into his flesh, concentrating and curling up over his heart while sending small tendrils along his nerves, taking over his body's normal functions and protecting him carefully from the ice rapidly forming around him. Free from its usual confines, this little bit of the Tesseract cocooned the man, forming an invisible barrier between his body and the ship full of cold and harm.

This one is mine, it whispered to no one. Just this once, this one is mine.

And for seventy years, he was.