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Even Heroes Die (Revised)

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It's cold.

He thinks as he lies broken and alone on the freezing concrete floor.

It's cold, and he's alone.
Left behind.
By someone he had trusted. He had trusted and for that he was burned.

Pathetic.

He knows he is. He's pathetic and so, so stupid. He should have known better. Better than to hope that he could be a hero. That he could have friends.
Have a family.

Who was he to assume such a thing? He was worthless. Nobody wanted him. Not Steve, or Banner, or... Pepper...
No one.

Everyone leaves him. They always, always leave. Jarvis, Maria, Peggy...

So why should he be so surprised by the way things ended?
With him, alone, as always. He should have known to expect this outcome.

He wasn't cut out for the hero business anyhow.

He knew that damn it!

Maybe he was meant to die in that desert all those years ago.
Maybe he's just been fooling himself all this time.

After all, nobody needed him.
He was useless.
Unneeded.
Unwanted.
Unloved...

He couldn't breathe.
Panic seemed to suffocate him.
Titanium crushed down upon his lungs as he gasped for breath. Red and gold twisted and caved in by what was once a beacon of Hope, Freedom, and Justice.

Where was that Hope now? Where was the Justice?

He couldn't move.
He was trapped.
Trapped inside his own suit of armour.
His salvation had become his prison, unable to escape the battle battered suit he was left to suffer.

The elements began to take hold of him. Ice creeping over his prone form. The sticky blood that had been sluggishly dripping from his wounds began to crystallize.

Just when he had given up hope, as he had been about to accept his fate that he would die here, with nothing but the memory of those piercing blue eyes glaring hatefully into his own as his sternum was brutalized, it happened.

Voices began to echo off the hollow walls of his would-be tomb.
For a moment, just for a split ripple in time, he thought perhaps they had come back for him. Perhaps he wasn't as alone as he had thought.

Those hopes were quickly torn to shreds as a dozen men dressed in black tactical gear filed in and surrounded him.

At that point in time Tony knew everything he had strived for would be stripped away.

All the work he'd put into being a better man, into not wasting his life, would be gone forever.

Because these people...

These people were....

Chapter Text

 

 

"The injection we gave him seems to be working. Lacerations and lesions are completely healed. Shattered ribs mending as we speak. Collapsed lung is fully repared. He should make a full recovery soon."

 

He was drifting, head foggy as his memories blurred together.

What happened to him? 

 

Where was he?

How did he get here?

 

"Good. We will begin as soon as possible."

 

Voices keep talking.

What were they talking about?

 

"But sir, if we inject him before the wipe there's no telling if his memories will resurface or not. The serum will heal his brain and we'll be right back to where we were with the first Winter Soldier."

"The loss of the Winter Soldiers has weakened us. Six Supersoldiers gone... We need to start over."

 

Winter Soldiers...

Barnes...

Siberia.

Steve.

The fight.

They couldn't... They wouldn't really... It wasn't possible.

 

"He's waking up." A distinctly feminine voice said from somewhere beside him.

Or was it above him?

Behind him?

He couldn't tell. Couldn't tell anything.

His head was so foggy and his body felt heavy and numb.

 

"Brainwaves and vitals spiking."

"What is going on?"

"Sir, I... I think he's having a panic attack."

"Sedate him. We'll begin once he's stable."

 

The voices sound muffled, like there's cotton or water in his ears. He needs to get out of here. He has to escape. He needs to...

 

"Don't worry Mister Stark. Everything is going to be just fine. You're exactly where you belong." A male voice told him.

 

He couldn't focus.

His fingers twitched, his foggy mind trying to convey to his body that they needed to move.

It was like Afghanistan all over again. He had no control. The world around him was so out of focus and he couldn't concentrate. Images flashing in and out.

 

"Just rest now. You're going to need it." The female voice told him before he felt the barest of pressures against the crook of his arm.

 

Everything fell away once more.

 

------------

"Welcome back, Mister Stark." A vaguely accented voice rouses Tony from his sleep. He blinks open sticky blurred eyes and tries to focus on his surroundings, barely managing to make out the greeting as his mind starts to clear.

"You may feel a bit sluggish at first. Don't worry. That's perfectly normal."

The accent is German, Tony picks up. Not particularly thick, but enough to notice it's there.


"W-where am... I?" He struggled to get out, brown eyes trying to take in their surroundings.

The first thing he noticed was the lack of natural light. They were most likely somewhere underground.

The second was how cold it was. This was Hydra. So possible locations include Russia, Austria, Switzerland or-

 

"Canada." The voice interrupted his thoughts.

 

Canada?

 

Since when did Hydra operate in Canada?

 

"Now that you're awake, and seem to be functioning properly, we can begin." The illusive owner of the voice walked around to stand in front of him.

He was tall and lean with blond hair, pale skin and bright blue eyes. The blond hair and blue eyes reminded Tony of Him. . .

 

He felt his stomach drop.

What are they beginning?

How long has he been out?

And what exactly did they do to him while he was?

 

He's strapped down, Tony realises, with the man standing above him.

 The man grinned, all white teeth and dancing eyes.

He can't be too much younger than himself, Tony thinks.

"I apologise about my rather poor manners Mister Stark. Allow me to properly introduce myself, I am Doctor Johan Liebert." He tells Tony.

 

"And you are The Great Tony Stark." the sentence is stated with genuine awe, like the man is actually excited to have Tony himself there.

 

The sick feeling in his stomach intensified. Those words echoed one's from a lifetime ago.

"Wh-at do you..?"

"What do we want? Well, that's simple really. We want our soldiers back." Johan says.

Tony watches as the tall blonde walks over to a computer screen before tapping a few keys. A video pulls up, showing Zemo inside the Winter Soldiers' cryo room.

 

One by one he takes them all out. Five dead supersoldiers.

 

"You see, even though those were all failed experiments they were still valuable assets. Yet now they are gone, and along with them our army of enhanced soldiers."

 

Tony stares at him, trying to register what he had just been told. They want their soldiers back... But their soldiers are dead...

It sinks in heavily, his mind processing exactly what these people wanted. They're going to make new soldiers. They're rebooting the Winter Soldier Project. And he's a prisoner... They're gonna make him like Barnes.

 Anxiety begins to build up inside of him, panic clouding his mind as he struggles against the restraints pinning him to the gurney.

 

"Relax Mister Stark, all of this excitment is not good for your health." Johan chastised as he moves to tighten the straps on Tony's arms, chest, and legs.

Tony tries to lean away from the man, desperate to get away from him, "Where... Am... I?" He tries to demand this time, his voice sounding strained. He wants a more specific answer.

"Canada." Johan repeats simply as he makes his way to the other side of the lab they're in.

Tony can see test tubes and beakers, he can smell the different chemicals perminating the air.

It's steral and cold. Walls of dark grey cement matching equally dark floors. Tables and stools made of a shinning steel. Overhead lights glaring blindingly. It's freezing and frightening and Tony really doesn't want to be here.

 

"Welcome to Department K, Mister Stark. I do hope you enjoy your stay."

Johan presses a button on the wall, seconds later the room is flooded with men in black tactical gear. "Take him to The Room. It's time to begin Phase One."