Steve opens his eyes.
„Tony!“ he gasped breathless. There he was, his husband, lover, his better half. Dressed in one of his fancy black custom tailored suites which hugged him in all the right places, a white silk shirt and a purple tie.
Steve jumped out of the bed and crashed into Tony’s arms with tears in his eyes. He pulled him tight, capturing Tony’s lips in a devouring and hopeful never ending kiss, oh god he had missed this so much - kissing him, touching him, smelling him.
Tony broke the kiss first and shoved him slightly away, resting one hand on Steve’s chest. „Steve, what are you doing here?“ He asked eyes wide in shock. „You aren’t meant to be here, your heart is still beating.“
„I know.. but..“ he whispers, looking down at the hand that is still pressed tight against his heart, avoiding Tony’s staring gaze. He couldn’t say anything, every word died on his tongue.
„Steve, sweetheart, look at me.. what have you done?“ fear crept into his voice. „I can’t do this.. I can’t do ALL this without you by my side.. I.. I shouldn’t be alive in the first place and you know it..“ he blurted out louder as intended, finally looking straight into his husbands eyes.
Tony let’s his eyes wander to their bed, spotting Steve’s body, lying motionless on top of the white sheets, one could think that Steve is just sleeping peacefully - not on the brink between life and death. He shakes his head in denial.
„No, you can’t be serious. You are Captain fucking America, Steve! You can’t let them down, what were you thinking?“ „The Hell I am, I am Steve Rogers your fucking husband in the first place and I wasn’t thinking anything, Tony! What did you expect me to do? Pretend that nothing had happened? Doing my job like any other day? Jesus Christ, these assholes killed you, they took you away from me - they send me your heart in a box - and I fucking can’t and won’t live another day without you! I love you! Happy?“ Steve yelled back. He runs his hand over his eyes, wiping his tears away.
Tony wanted to say so many things, that he isn’t worth it, that Steve just wastes his precious life, that Steve has responsibilities, he is an Avenger after all.. but no words made it out of his mouth. He just stood there with a loss for words.
Suddenly, Natasha and Clint were rushing into the Bedroom, right through the both of them.. it was a weird feeling. Probably Jarvis had alerted them that something is wrong.
„Jarvis! What happened? Oh my god Steve?!“ Natasha practically screamed as she runs to the bed looking at Steve’s pale and motionless body. Her fingers went to Steve’s neck, searching for a pulse, she found a very weak one. She took a scanning look over his body, searching for injuries or blood - nothing. „I informed doctor Banner and a medic team, Miss Romanov. But Captain Rogers heartrate and bloodpressure are still dropping on a fast pace. I may alert you that you should use CPR anytime soon.“ informed the AI.
„Ehh Nat, you should read this..“ Clint padded her shoulder and handed her a letter - oh god, nonono.. this is a fucking nightmare was all she could think.
My friends, my family,
I don’t know where to start. I know that „i‘m sorry“ won’t make anything better.
But indeed I am so sorry to put my friends - my family through this. But I have to be selfish, only this one time in my whole life. I have lost once everyone I loved when I crashed into the ice. Losing Tony, the person I love the most in this universe, is unbearable for me - so I made a choice.
Probably you may think that i‘m a coward but I just can‘t bear the thought to live the rest of my life without the other half of my heart - it isn’t a life anyway.
Please, don’t make any attempts to save me, it won’t work. I found a secret serum, in one of Hydras Laboratories, designed to end the life of enhanced humans - people like me - in case they became a threat for them. It works, it’s almost painless and once injected there is no way to stop the effect.
After reading the lines she tossed the letter aside and ran a shaking hand through Steve’s hair, a single tear dropped on his face. „Clint, when Steve is right, there is nothing we can do, we are too late.“ she whispered sadly. He gritted his teeth, „Son of a bitch!“
„Natasha, what’s going on?“ a voice from the door questioned with a tight strain. Bruce was finally there and within a few steps he was on Natasha’s and Clint’s side, eyeing Steve in shock.
„He’s dying Bruce, he killed himself with..“ she turned to face him with watery eyes. „That’s impossible, there is no drug that would affect..“ Bruce answered. „Stop, there is..“ she handed Bruce the letter, „Hydra made a special serum to kill enhanced humans, in case they become a threat, they needed something reliable to stop them.“ she blurted out.
Bruce took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose, this can’t be true, this has to be a nightmare. First they lost Tony in a sorry attempt of rescue and now they failed Steve too and all they could do now is watch him die slowly.
„Steve, what are they talking about?“ he faced his husband waving his hand between Natasha and Bruce. Steve sighed and ran a hand through his hair, „Look, they talk about a secret Hydra serum that I found during a mission several years ago. It was the last veil, next to 4 empty ones and 4 dead super soldiers in one of Hydras labs. No one knew that there was another veil left with this stuff, not SHIELD, not anyone - except me - i found some secret files about the effects and how it works, it’s almost painless but 100% effective in the end. The only drug to kill a super soldier. There is no bouncing back from this.“ he huffed and almost smiled.
„Sweetheart... Steve..“ Tony stepped forward and took Steve’s face in his hands, pressing their foreheads together. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Couldn’t believe that Steve would go this far, for him.
Suddenly Steve flinched „Ouch, what the fuck?“ he muttered and rubbed at his chest absently with his hand. He turned around to look at himself, this time his body was lying on the ground, Bruce and several medics hovering over him.
He had electrodes attached to his chest, the heart monitor beeped every now and then, an oxygen mask was pressed on his face. Natasha has cradled his head in her hands and stroked through his hair in a slow pace, while muttering something he couldn’t understand. Someone had injected something into his heart, again - he felt the sting and burning sensation behind his breastbone very intense. They tried to save him nonetheless, oh god he hated it so much. He hated it to leave them, to let them down, but he was sure that they would make the best out of it - even without him.
He turned around to look at Tony, to look him straight in this wonderful brown eyes and then he smiled like a lovefool „God Tony, I love you so so much and I regret nothing!“ was all he could say as he stepped forward to embrace him once more and pressed his lips against Tony’s.
The kiss was soft and so full of love, want and eternity.
Then he heard the loud and endless beep of the heart monitor behind him, followed by sobs and curses. He didn’t turn around this time. On any other day he probably would have freaked out by the sound too, but now he felt only relief.
He was right there where he belonged.
Together with the other half of his heart.