“All armed agents need to report to the door and prepare for combat immediately.” Natasha’s voice came grimly over the quiet jet intercom. Around him, willing agents unbuckled their belts and went to the door. They were all doing it for SHIELD. But Steve? He was doing it for you... and for Bucky.
They didn’t leave you alone. You weren’t sure that you wanted them to, either. All the nice doctors gave you medicine and finally gave you blankets. They gave you little bowls of what they called ‘oatmeal’ too. But sometimes, you got horrible feelings. Feelings that there was more than black and white, more than being called the ‘hope’. But then the feeling would pass and you would be okay. This was your life.
“Time for your medicine.” Doctor Lounze stepped forward, loading the IV with his special mixture. You knew better than to say anything.
“Doctor, Doctor!” A woman came rushing in, eyes wide. “We’re under attack and shorthanded!”
An expression of bewilderment and anger crossed the nice doctor’s face. “We’re not ready. She’s not ready!”
“We have no other choice,” a man interjected. Another doctor. “They’re closing in, our men are falling. We have to use her.”
And all eyes turned to you.
No... no, you didn’t want this. You liked the feeling of safeness. When they stopped hurting you, they made you safe and that’s what you wanted. Please, please, you didn’t want to hurt again. They were going to make you use it. The thing that they put inside you. The hope.
“Let me speak to her alone,” the doctor said. He was no longer smiling; no longer appearing kind. All of a sudden, you hated him. You hated him with everything you had and you didn’t know why. When the other doctors left, you had to resist the urge to use the power on him. Doctor Lounze sighed and opened up a drawer on his desk. What he retrieved was a small glowing capsule that shone bright blue. He held it out to you, but you didn’t take it.
“This,” he said. “Is what you are. It’s everything you’re worth, pulsing in your chest. And I need you to use it today.”
The refusal to do what the Doctor told you made them very angry.
It was so hard to run, but you were trying. Nothing was okay. Nothing was safe. You didn’t want to be the hope if it meant you would have to fight. You didn’t want to fight.
The ground rumbled and shouting and chaos could be heard from the other side of the wall. It was where you had to go to get away. There was a door. An open door...
You stumbled through, squinting. The light was so bright. Brighter than the lights inside. This wasn’t a room... it was outside. There was a fight going on. Soldiers were battling.
”STOP HER! SHE’S ESCAPED!”
Something impacted your chest hard, knocking the air out of your lungs. It hurt! The rage that had become so familiar bubbled up in your chest and the same blue sparks crackled at your fingers. This time, there was no stopping it. It lashed out, taking four or five soldiers. Just like that, it was as if they never even existed.
It frightened you. Something was wrong, so wrong. This didn’t seem right! You stared at your trembling hands, pale and slim. These hands weren’t supposed to kill.
Another agonizing impact knocked you off your feet. This time, you wouldn’t think. This time, you were going to fight. As your fingers closed around a discarded gun, you prepared to be brave.
Steve Rogers wove through the oncoming flurry of HYDRA soldiers, cutting through them like butter with his shield. The base wasn’t well protected. There had to be more, right? This slew of fighters wouldn’t match up to the SHIELD agents who’d come. At this rate, it would be nothing to push his way inside and find you.
”Thought you’d have a party without me, Capsicle?” The voice over Steve’s radio was oddly gratifying. It made the mission seemingly easier to complete. The suit of red and gold plummeted down from the sky, causing a few small explosions on its way down. Just like Stark to have a fashionably late entrance. Steve continued to scan the battlefield around him, looking for a way through.
That’s when he finally saw you.
It was nothing like he’d pictured you being. In the midst of the warfare, you stood cutting HYDRA men down. They’d put you in bland white hospital pajamas. But that wasn’t the most disturbing thing at all. What truly made the Captain stop was the look on your face. One of mixed horror, bewilderment, and... anger. It was an expression of a trapped animal, an expression Steve knew well. Because he’d seen it on Bucky’s face in his nightmares.
And all of a sudden, he found himself desperately praying that they hadn’t hurt you too. Bucky was a soldier of war. He’d survived torture and countless missions. How many bullets had he taken before falling off that train? But you... you were just a scientist confined safely to your lab. You were so fragile... But something was wrong. Doctor Lounze had plunged a needle into the base of your skull. This wasn’t a hostage situation.
Someone was a traitor.
”(Name)!” Steve fought his way through the horde, fighting to get to you. He wasn’t going to lose you too. Your head snapped up, but it was as if you didn’t recognize your own name.
You were looking at him like a target.
Through all the confusion and the gunfire, something shook inside of you. There were people here, people you'd seen before- outside the walls of this sterile prison. The woman with the red hair, she was one of your best friends. The man with the star on his shield was someone you could never forget. All you knew was that you had to-
Your thought was cut off as something plummeted into the back of your neck. For the first time in a while, the absolute agony of pain gripped you. It wiped the thoughts from your head, wiped every feeling from your heart.
And suddenly, there was nothing but you and the orders given.
The people in the pictures... you had to hurt them. You had to kill them. The man with the colors and the shield was coming at you. This was going to hurt. You knew it even if you didn’t understand.
“Attack.” The doctor’s orders were sharp and controlling. It sent a jolt through your body that was uncontrollable. The blue sparks were called to your fingertips and shot out, blindly eliminating a few soldiers around you. A sort of shock settled into you when you realized that the sparks had obliterated them entirely; as if they were never there to begin with.
You were meant to do this to your target. However, your body refused to cooperate. His shield... it reminded you of something. Something that wouldn’t let you obliterate him.
“ATTACK!” The doctor shoved you forward, leaving you no choice. The doctor knew best.
With an agonizing amount of effort, you struck at the person from the picture. The shot ricocheted off his star-spangled shield.
“Again.” The word cut into you, sharp and menacing. It smeared some of the wrongness into a shade of gray. Hearing those penetrating words at the base of your skull only made you fling another spark of blue at the man. He was calling for something- calling for you?
“Engage in battle! Now!” This time, the command made all the gray fade to black. The doctor knew best. If you knew any better, there would be a bullet in your head- and so much pain. With a skill you didn’t know you had, your hand gripped a discarded tanto-point combat knife and charged at him.
This was your target.
There was no choice.