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Project AB: The Perfect Solider

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Chapter 1Dreadful Dreams of a Forgotten Memory 

 

He woke up with a start.

He shot straight up in the bed, one hand on his racing heart, attempting to catch his breath, yet…it didn’t matter how many times he inhaled and exhaled, he still couldn’t seem to get it together. He brought his shaking hands up, rubbing his eyes, ignoring the sickly cool sweat his body was drenched in.

His breathing was the only sound to be heard in the quietness of the night, he glanced to his left to the nightstand with the alarm clock; the big red numbers read “4:30 AM”. He turned his head to the body that laid stilly besides him, attempting to stop the panting.

At least he didn’t wake Tony…

He sat in the bed, his breathing finally quieting like the silence around him. He debated whether or not he wanted to go back to sleep. But…when he thought of sleep…when he thought of closing his eyes…all he heard was a gun shot…and all he could see was the face of that young man…

Biting his lip, he sat in the bed, replaying the details that were so clear yet blurry…of a memory…he doesn’t know…

He slide out from under the sheets, careful not to wake the other, and goes into the bathroom, shutting the door softly. He peeled off his shirt and pants from his cold, sweaty, body, going over to the shower. He got underneath the the chilly rays, the thought of a hot shower made sick to his stomach. He couldn’t even think about warmth, it only made his head spin.

The freezing water cascaded around him, he drew his hands through his hair, the scenes of his dream haunting with his eyes closed. The chasing, Steve could practically feel the wind that rushed through the young man’s golden locks, he could hear the sound of his thudding heart, as he ran, ran from the other, who simply–aimlessly– walked. behind him. He could hear the voice, but between the drumming of the heart beat and the man’s breathless pants, the voice was disoriented. Who was chasing him? Why? What could he have done?

The look…the look in those blue eyes…

…what was he looking at?

…who was he looking at?

His heart jumped in his throat, as the gun shot rang through his ears once again. He placed his hands on the slick tiles, leaning forward, feeling the beating of his heart through his chest.

He got out out of the shower, taking the white towel he set out for himself, he whipped away the water from his face. When he glanced into the mirror, his muscles, his body, froze.

In the mirror, he stared at the figure of the young man in his dream. His blue eyes…they looked at with an expression Steve couldn’t read…

He bolted his head to look behind him, there was nobody there.


 

He watched the sunrise that morning, staring out through the window overlooking the city, watching it awake from its slumber. Everyone was still asleep, no one would wake for another hour or so, which Steve was grateful for. He needed time alone, time to think, to figure out who that man is, who’s chasing him, and where the memory had come from. 

What Steve doesn’t understand is…is that…the young man…almost looked like him…but he knows…he knows that…it’s not…

Or at least he thinks it’s not…

It couldn’t be…right…?

These dreams…why…why are they suddenly appearing? What did they mean? Why is it coming to him almost every night? Why is it that he sees that young man looking at him in the corner of his eye?

Who is he? And what does he want?

The dreams…they are…they are…are almost…almost like…someone else’s…

…that they’re the memories of someone else…

…but who?

That…that us…this is…the key part to understanding it all…

He stared out at the lively city, his mind calculating every possible face he’s ever seen, when in the window, he caught sight of those blues eyes watching him. He bit the inside of his cheek, he dared to look at the face, but he did. They stared at one another, both expressionless. Steve begged his memory to remember who this soul was, who stared at him with the most bluest eyes he’d ever seen.

His reminiscing of the old days held no answers, gave no name to a face. He kept his eyes on the young man, just as he kept his summer blue eyes on him. His mouth gaped slightly, he debated on asking something, but he had so many questions he didn’t even know where to begin. He opened his mouth, “Hey.” a voice said behind him, making him turn to look over his shoulder. There Tony stood, in all his morning glory. He turned back to the window, and the man was gone. He continued to look at the window, his mind contemplating many things, things which Steve can’t explain. Tony stood confused, “Ahh…good morning?”

“Oh! Good morning…” he responded, turning to Tony as he walked up to the couch, he bended down for a kiss, which Steve complied.

“You weren’t in bed when I woke, got a little worried there Cap.” the man said. “Thought you might have run off and done something crazy just like the American hero you are.” he said with sarcasm, yet there was an underlying hint of bitterness.

Bucky got away from both of them, now neither of them know where the man is. They’re searching, everyday they’re searching, for different reasons, but they’re looking.

“No, nothing like that…” he laughed, even though he wasn’t sure if he should. “…just couldn’t…just couldn’t sleep…” he admitted giving a small smile.

“Nightmare?”

His eyes drifted back to the windows. “You could say…” his voice said weakly.

Tony turned to the window, eyebrow raised. “What?” he asked, making his way over to the kitchen. “You’d have a dream of falling out a window or something?”

He laughed. “Not exactly…”

“Well, I had a nightmare last night.” Tony told as he prepared two cups of coffee. When they were ready, he brought one over, handing one cup to him. “I had a dream that we became grandparents.” he said as he sat down in the car besides him.

He raised an eyebrow as he took a sip. “And that’s a nightmare?”

“Yes,” Tony replied sharply. “Because the kid got pregnant…” he whispered, glancing around the room. “…as a teenager…” he said it almost as if he he did then it might come true.

He shrugged. “It might happen.”

“God please no…”

“He is an omega, one day, he might want to settle down and have kids.” taking a sip from his coffee, he set it on the stand besides the couch, facing the other man. “And we’ll be there to support him.”

“I don’t think the world can handle little Peter Parkers…”

“You’re probably right…” he smiled, hiding the underlining sadness he felt somewhere in his heart. He doesn’t understand why Tony honestly stays with him, he can’t give the man what he wants; he can’t give him a family. At the time…when he became Captain America…he had no one he’d want to start a family with…he didn’t think…he didn’t think that he’d…he’d ever want a family…or find some to start one with…

He’d ask, yet he didn’t want to hear the answer.

His eyes lifted from his lap, up to the window, where he was met with the reflection of the young man. His face showed sadness, for reasons Steve wishes he knew.

“Why…” he breathed, staring at the man, not even realizing that he spoke out loud.

Tony turned to the window once more, then back to Steve. “Are…are you okay…?”

“Yeah…” he replied, his voice almost distance as his thoughts.

“You would tell me if you’re not…” Tony asked looking at him, but he didn’t look back. “…right?”

He didn’t answer.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Secrecy and Jealousy 

“I must say,” the elder man said as he walked around his office with his back to him. “It is an honor to share the same room with, Captain.” he sat down in the chair across from the chaise lounge, adjusting his thin circular glasses with a lit cigarette between his lips, his eyes focused on the papers attached to the clipboard in his lap. “I’m just sorry we had to meet this way.” he blew out his cigarette, putting in out in the dish on his desk of his cluttered office.

He gave a smile. “The pleasure is all mine Doctor, thank you for seeing me on such a short notice.” 

The doctor laughed. “Well, it’s not every that Captain America wants to make an appointment with you.” 

“I read your reviews, best in the state.” 

“Thank you Captain, it truly is an honor.” he said with a smile, eyes still focused on his lap. He then looked up at him, hands folded out in front of him. “Now, what has been troubling you lately?” 

He sighed, “Y’know Doc, I wish I knew myself…”

“Well, that’s why you’re here Mr. Rogers.” 

He shook his head, a small smile on his lips. “I just feel like a madman…” 

“Do not feel judged, Captain, that is not my job. My job is to help you, but I can’t do that if you don’t explain what’s been going on.” 

He sat there, biting his lip, eyes off to the side. “I’ve…” he started. “…I’ve been seein’ things Doc…” he admitted, turning to face the other. 

The elder began writing on the clipboard in his lap. “Seeing things? You mind sharing what exactly you’ve been seeing?” 

“A young man, teens or early twenties.” 

“And what does this young man look like, if you don’t mind me asking.” 

“Well…” he laughed. “…he…he kind of looks like me…expect…he’s not…” he explained. “…blonde hair…blue eyes…the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen…” 

“Have you perhaps met this young man before?” 

“No, I…I don’t believe I have…” 

The man continued to write. “And what does this young man do when you see him? Does he…taut you? Speak to you? Interrogate you?” 

“No, no, nothing like that…he…he only stares at me…he…he never speaks…” 

“Does his presences cause you disturbance? Does it…harm you in anyway? Do you feel threatened or intimidated by this young man?” 

“No…I feel…I don’t know how I feel when I see him…” 

“Have you been hearing any…voices lately? People speaking or murmuring of voices?” 

“No.” 

“What about other things? Have you been seeing any other things aside from the young man?” 

“No.” 

“Have you been finding yourself easily agitated? Aggressive towards others? Or hostility to friends and family?” 

“No…”

“Have you been having feelings of depression?” 

“I’ve been feeling confused more than anything…” 

“Confused? Mind telling me why?” 

“I just don’t understand…I don’t understand why he’s coming to me…I don’t know what he wants…” 

The doctor nodded, pen still connected to the paper. “Have you been eating and sleeping normally?” 

“Yes to the eating, the sleeping…” he shook his head. “…not so much…”

“What’s been causing your lack of sleep?” 

“I keep having the same dream, over, and over again.” 

“And what’s happening in this dream?” 

His eyes drifted to the ceiling, he bit his lip softly. He dreaded thinking about it, yet somehow, it was the only thing on his mind these days. “The man I told you about, the one with the blue eyes, he’s there.” he swallowed. “And he’s running…running down a hall…” he says. “…I can never see who he’s running from, but…I can see their feet. They’re just…walking normally, carelessly even…” he takes a moment to think of what happens next, but the dream always ends the same. “…then…then I can see the young man’s face…he’s…he’s looking at someone…I don’t know who…he’s looking at them…before…” he closes his eyes, biting his lip hard, his heart jolting in his chest. “…there’s a gun shot…" he opened his eyes slowly. “…and that’s…that’s when I…that’s when I see him most…” he turned to the other man. “What do you think it could be, Doc?” 

The doctor didn’t look up from his notes, as his hand wrote more. “Can be any number of things, Mr. Rogers.” he said. “To be clear, you have this dream of this young man, then you see him?” 

He nodded. “The whole day, sometimes in the reflection of windows or mirrors…or…out of the corner of my eye.” 

“Do you see him now?” 

He took a moment to respond, eyes scanning the room. “No.” 

“Is that the honest truth?” 

“Yes.” he watched as the man wrote. He swallowed, “Any idea?” 

“Like I said before, Mr. Rogers, could be a number of things…” he glanced up for a second before looking back down at his notes. “…could possibly be…PTSD or…possibly Schizophrenia…or…both…” he says. “It is not uncommon for someone with PTSD to have Schizophrenia, and vice versa.” he sat forward in his seat, elbows on his knees and his fingers intertwined in front of him. “I believe that the dream is a sort of…trigger…it triggers your brain to begin seeing this young man, this hallucination. I only say he’s a hallucination because you say you have never met this young man in your life, meaning he must be imaginative, someone your brain made up. I believe the reason you are not seeing him now is because you have not been sleeping, allowing for the trigger, your dream, to overall not be triggered.” he explained. “As for the dream itself…it might be…a result of PTSD due to your military background, of course PTSD can come to those with no military history, but it’s not unique that soldiers contract PTSD in their time of services, especially in the time you served.” the doctor shook his head. “You must have witnessed and seen things that are beyond my words or understanding.” he looked up at him. “But I do think you yourself must have once been through exactly what that young man is going through in your dream, perhaps not scene by scene, but most likely you have been in a similar situation.” 

He smiled. “So, what you’re basically saying is I’m crazy.” 

“No crazy, Mr. Rogers, psychotic.” 

“And that’s any better?” 

“Our understandings of mental disorders have changed, Captain.” he said, putting a cigarette between his lips. “While we don’t completely understand them, we do have a better grasp than we did in your time.” he stood up in his seat, lighting the cigarette. He inhaled, then exhaled smoke. “So don’t worry, we’re not going to throw you into a mental insinuate, strap you to a bed, give you a cold baths, then a lobotomy, and proceed to pump you with Thorazine.” he walked over to his desk, cigarette between his fingers. “No, we have medicine now, but before I give you anything, I’d like to monitor you a bit more before I prescribe any type of anti-psychotic medication.” he put out the cigarette in the dish on the desk, back to him. “I do this with all my patients because I don’t want to prescribe them with something, then have them become severely ill.” he explained. “I am going to ask one more thing before our time is up however, and before we get into treatment…” he walked back to the chair, sitting down. “Both these mental disorders, PTSD and Schizophrenia, are both triggered by stress.” he told, before leaning forward once again in his chair. “Are you feeling any sort of stress lately, Captain?” 

“No, not really…” he didn’t even know where to begin; with his inability to give his partner the family he wants and his pride getting in the way of him discussing that insecurity with Tony; or, the fact that Bucky was still out in the world doing God only knows what while the whole world seemed to be searching for him; and now with new threats coming from all over, earthbound and elsewhere. The universe is becoming unhinged, maybe Steve isn’t cut out for this type of work anymore, perhaps he just can’t keep up with it anymore. “…or maybe I’m so use to it I…I just don’t…that I just don’t realize it anymore…”

“I can imagine, being an Avenger must certainly have some type of stress that comes with the job, that I, once again, have a lack of understanding of.” he said, leaning back, arms on the arm rests, head down. “What I am going to tell you to do is go home, and before you go to sleep, take some sleeping pills. That will at least help you get some sleep. But, if the hallucinations begin to become worse, come see me right away. As of right now, I’ll call when I have a window open for your next appointment. I would like to see you very soon.” 

He nodded, sitting up, extending his hand. “Thank you Doctor.” 

The older man smiled, shaking his hand. “Pleasure, I’ll let you know as soon as possible when I’ll next be seeing you.” 


 

While it didn’t feel like it, his appointment was two hours long. He arrived back at the tower, once the elevator doors opened, he was greeted by Tony sitting on the couch. He saw the man glance over his shoulder as he walked in, holding a shot of vodka with with a half empty bottle on the coffee table. 

“Where have you been?” Tony asked, taking a shot before pouring another. 

“Don’t tell me you drank all of that on our own.” he said walking over to the couch. 

“You’re avoiding the question Cap.” 

He sighed, his head sinking. “It was nothing important…” 

Tony stood up, facing him. “You’ve been gone for two hours and all you have to say is that “it was nothing”?” 

“Tony, you’re drunk–“ 

“No, the last time I turned my back on you, you ran off with your old war buddy and–“ 

“This has nothing to do with Bucky.” 

“Then where were you.” 

“Why are you getting upset? I said it was nothing. You’re acting like I’d cheat on you.” when Tony’s mouth shut and his eyes fell to the floor, he only stood there. “You…really think that I’d–“ 

The elevator beeped, making both look. They saw Natasha walking out with a stranger by her side. He was a tall, African American man, with a brown colored trench coat, an obvious nice suit and tie under, along with a black Panama hat and black briefcase. “You got a visitor Steve.” she said. 

“Darrian Williams.” the man introduced. “It’s an honor to meet you.” 

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Williams.” he greeted, shaking the mans hand. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Tony roll his eyes dramatically. “Would you like to take a seat?” he offered, arm extending to the couch. 

“Yes I would, thank you sir.” the man said, taking off his hat as he made his way over to the couch. 

He sat down in the chair besides the couch. “So, what is it that you need to speak with me about Mr. Williams?” 

“I am here on behalf of the United States Government. I’m here to report write a report about something.” 

“What is that exactly?” 

“Captain, do you know anything about the project ‘Project AB: The Perfect Solider’?” 

Chapter Text

 

 Chapter 3: Project Failure  

 

“Captain, do you know anything about the project ‘Project AB: The Perfect Solider’?” Williams asked. Natasha and Tony turned to him silently.  

“I’m afraid to say I don’t.” he admitted smiling. 

“It was an experiment reformed back in 1941, not too long after Project Rebirth. Are you sure you don’t remember this experiment happening?” 

He shook his head. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I’m going to be much use to you if you are reporting about this project. All I can remember from 1941 is Project Rebirth, and a bunch of other things aside from that, I’m sorry.” 

The man sighed through his nose, reaching for his black briefcase, placing it on the table in front of the couch. He opened the briefcase, he pulling out an old, vanilla folder that has seen better days with big faded letters across it reading: PROJECT AB. “Are you sure you have no recollection of this, Captain?” 

He stared at the folder, the letters…they…

“Vaguely…” he replied. 

“Would you like to take a look, to maybe jog your memory?” he offered the folder over.

He cautiously looked at it before taking it into his hands. He couldn’t find it within himself to open it. It’s a memory he never tried to remember because he can’t remember it. He’s seen this folder, he’s seen these letters, he’s seen these words, he’s seen them all before. 

Yet, he can’t even begin to think where he knows them from…

He looked up at the other man from the corner of his eye, “Mind telling me exactly what this project was about, Mr. Williams?” 

He wants to remember…there is something telling him to remember…screaming to remember…he can’t…he can’t…

Williams sat back in the couch. “It was an experiment to test whether or not a superior race of soldiers could be created through genetics.” he explained. “Right after Project Rebirth, a question sparked: can one super solider, create another?” his eyes drifted, connecting with his. “And seeing how the subject of Project Rebirth was an omega, they seized the moment.” 

“Why would they do something like that?” he asked defensively. 

“All in the name of science.” Williams replied simply. “The whole purpose of Project AB was a science experiment.” he said. “An experiment to see whether or not they could create the perfect solider by using their perfect solider.” 

“How could they have done that?” 

“They impregnated you.” 

A silence fell upon the room, he stared at the man, ignoring the two other stares, one much heavier. 

His laugh broke the quietness, “That’s impossible, they told me that the serum made me infertile.” 

“They lied to you.” 

“Why would they have lied?” 

“That’s a question I can’t answer.” Williams responded. “There’s a lot about this experiment which I can’t explain.” he admitted. “That’s why I’m here, to investigate.” he only stared at him. “If you don’t believe me, take a look for yourself.” the others hand motioned toward the folder. 

His eyes drifted down, he tried to ignore his heart beat in his ears. He glanced up at the man for a moment before slowly opening it.   His eyes began scanning the pages, running across the all words, every letter, yet none of it made sense. He stood up, carrying the folder over to the window, his eyebrows furrowed at every kind. 

None of it. All the logic. All the reasoning. Nothing of it was factual. He couldn’t grasp it, he couldn’t find a reason why. 

Why would they do this? Who knew? Did Peggy know? Certainly, if she did, she wouldn’t have allowed for it.

…right?

He bit his lip hard. “Who was the father of the kid…” the pages didn’t specify, they didn’t specify a lot of things. 

“James Barnes.”

“Of course…” he heard Tony huff.

He turned to the man who was pacing back and forth with a cold stare. “Not the time.” he bit. He turned his attention back to the reporter. “How do you know that?” 

“There aren’t many around anymore who were apart of this experiment, and those who are have seen better days.” Williams said with a sigh. “I have only been able to find one scientist.” he held up one finger. “Dr. Camenzind, he’s a Swiss scientist who was apparently close friends with Dr. Abraham Erskine.” 

“That’s a lie, Erskine would have never allowed for this to happen.” 

“Apparently not, he claims that Erskine was all on board.” 

“Erskine died after Project Rebirth.” 

“I asked him about that, and he says that Erskine and him came up with the experiment together while they were trying to pick who should be chosen for Project Rebirth. When Erskine chose an omega, Camenzind said neither could resist.” Williams said. “Erskine gave his consent just as much to the project as he did.” he explained. “When it came to who should be the father of the child, they had many alphas lined up, approximately twelve. In the end, they chose Mr. Barnes.” the man’s dark eyes connected with his. “As Camenzind put it, it was a perfect match.”

“I don’t believe it…” he whispered, head sinking low. As his eyes wondered down the page once more, his blood ran cold at the signature at the bottom: ‘Dr. Abraham Erskine’. His throat became dry. There was no denying it now. He can’t. “Why here, why now.” he asked.

“Project AB was unknown until recently. All those involved attempted to destroy the evidence that it ever happened due to the fact that it violated many rules and regulations of human rights even for that time. Many who were apart of the experiment had been able to slip away from the law because the world was too focused on the war, now we as the government are trying to find all of them and bring them to justice.” 

“So, you’re going to arrest me.” 

“I’m not here to arrest anyone, Mr. Rogers.” Williams said. “I’m only here to investigate and report back, but if I report something that makes them feel some type of way, it could lead to your arrest.”

“You honestly believe I’d consent to something like this.” 

“With all do respect Captain, I don’t know, but Camenzind claims you did.” 

“Unbelievable…” he muttered, shaking his head as he turned back to the papers that he wanted more than anything to rip to shreds. He didn’t want to read anymore, but he flipped the paper up revealing another page, and his heart sank. On the paper, was a black and white photo of a young man, a young man he could have mistaken for himself. He turned his body, but his eyes didn’t drift from the page. “Who is this.” 

“That is Adel Hildehrand, mostly known as Alfie.” Williams said as he stood up from the couch. “He was born in 1941, grew up in Berlin, his adopted parents were mysteriously murdered resulting in him living on the streets. He graduated high school at sixteen, and attended the University of Berlin. Was a pretty smart kid.” he told, walking over with his hands in his pockets. “He’s mostly was known for finding a lost ship that had sank at sea during World War II that contained vibranium. He found many other lost wreckage’s, but that one is what got his name in newspapers.” Williams stood in front of him. “We have reason to suspect that he’s your son.” 

He looked at him puzzled. “My son?” the reporter nodded. “How do you know that?” 

“Project AB was a failure, many who were apart of it disbanded not too long after the child was born, leaving no time for investigation. Camenzind says that they weren’t able see how the serum affected the boy, so if he ever had the opportunity to study the child in the future, he gave him the name Alfie.” he said. “Camenzind gave Alfie to a colleague, Professor Fynn Hildehrand, a German university professor who fled with his wife when the Nazi’s began to take over Germany. He returned back to Berlin in 1945 with Alfie, changing his name to Adel, but gave him the nickname Alfie so that Camenzind could find him in the future. Though, then Professor Fynn Hildehrand and his wife were murdered for unknown reasons not long after they returned to Berlin, prompting Camenzind to lose track of him until he began becoming relatively famous, but by that point Camenzind couldn’t get a hold of him.”

“Now you’re on hunt for him?” 

Williams nodded. “Alfie went missing in 1959, and it seems like no one remembers the poor kid. I can’t seem to find anyone with any entail about what could have happened to him.”

His eyes slowly fell into darkness, he winched at the sound of the gun shot. “I’m afraid he’s dead.” he said. 

The reporter turned to him quickly. “How do you know that?” 

“It’s…it’s hard to explain…” 

Before the man could open his mouth to question further, Tony cleared his throat, prompting the two of them to turn to him. “Yeah, I hate to interrupt, but do you mind if I have a word with him? It’ll only be a moment.” he assured. Both he and Williams looked at each other, then before he knew it, he was in their bedroom. Tony locked the door before he turned to him. “What the hell is he talking about out there?”

“I’m just as lost as you Tony…” he said, sitting on the bed, his eyes focused on the photo of the young man that he now knew the name too. 

“Are you? Are you really?” 

He turned to the man with narrowed eyes. “Don’t tell me you also believe I was somehow okay with.” 

“I don’t know, I don’t know Steve, I–.” 

“Where would you get that idea–“ 

“You’ve been acting strange lately,” he begs listing, circling around him with his arms over his chest. “You haven’t been talking to me lately, you don’t sleep with me anymore, you’re secretive, distracted. Jeez, I wonder why I think you’re hiding something.” 

“It’s not about this…”

“Then what is it about?” 

“I…I can’t tell you right now…” 

“Why not?” 

“Because I…I don’t know…” he doesn’t know why, he doesn’t. “…I just can’t right now…they don’t know what’s wrong with me right now…” he explained. “…could be PTSD…or…or Schizophrenia…” he swallowed. “…or both…” 

Tony dropped his arms. “You didn’t think to tell me this?”

“I didn’t exactly know how to explain to you that I was seeing this kid.” 

“You still could have told me.”

“That isn’t something you tell people, Tony.” 

“You should tell me things every once in a while .”

“And you shouldn’t accuse me of cheating.” 

Tony was about to say something, but a knock at the door interrupted him. He unlocked it, opening up to Natasha who looked at both of them. “The reporter guy says that he’s leaving, and wanted to say goodbye.” she informed them. “And I also wanted to prevent you two from killing each other.” she smirked before walking away, he shook his head. 

“It was a pleasure to have met you Captain.” he said extending his hand. “I’m sorry we had to meet this way.” he seems to be hearing that a lot these days. Despite all that he felt, he shook the man’s hand then let go. He handed the folder back over to him, Williams nodded then allowed for Natasha escorted him to the elevator. He watched the doors close, and once they were closed, he bit the inside of his cheek, and his head fell forward.