twelve.

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Natasha was cleaning her guns in her room when she heard a loud noise coming from the landing balcony next to the living room. She stood up in a rush and hurried outside, spotting Steve and Clint as they reached her and followed her through the hall.

Bruce and Tony were already there, observing quietly as Thor walked through the catwalk Tony would usually use to take off his suit and walked inside the living room, throwing on the ground the body of a man he had dragged in his hand.

"Is he alive?" Tony asked, not particularly surprised by Thor's theatrical arrival.

To answer Tony's question, the man suddenly straightened up while taking a deep breath and looked around himself in a confused state, almost panicking.

"Who is he?" Natasha asked.

"One on Marnikov's fellows. He didn't want to release any information about our ladies, so I decided to bring him to you all," Thor replied, pointing at the man with his hammer.

"I'm not telling you anything!" the man exclaimed, searching around his body for an arm, but not finding any.

"Something tells me I can make you change your mind," Natasha said creepily, raising an eyebrow as a smirk appeared on her porcelain face.

"He's all yours."

-

"It's been a week, why is she not waking up?"

"I have no idea, and it scares me."

Voices were dancing around her as she desperately tried to grasp them, only to find herself completely still, not a muscle on her body allowing her to move. She opened her mouth to scream, again, but nothing came out of her throat and she felt she could have perfectly given up and let the darkness surrounding her take advantage of it and embrace her definitely.

It wasn't necessary for her to fight. She had felt her powers being completely drained from her after making Pietro wake up, and nothing of them was left in her. She had even lost the light of hope in her mind, and she didn't find a reason to wake up, not after the only thing keeping her alive was gone.

But still, she wasn't dying. If something, she was slowly strengthening herself and she would soon wake up, but the cost of her awakening was too heavy for her to bear. She would have lived a powerless life, surrounded by inhuman people who used their powers to save harmless citizens while she barely knew how to hold a gun.

"What did you even do to her? It wasn't supposed to go like this!"

"Calm down, witch. We hadn't expected it to happen."

"Don't talk to my sister like this, you monster."

She didn't even realize when she had decided to finally open up her eyes, too tired of that coma-like sleep she had been in for more than a week. If she had to end her life, she was going to do it properly and not wait for it to consume her from the inside.

The first person who realized she was awake was Marnikov, who studied her curiously as she shot him the deadliest glare she had ever put up. It wasn't long before her eyesight was completely surrounded by brownish, long hair and piercing blue eyes almost staring right at her soul.

Wanda and Pietro had immediately rushed to her sides, caressing her sweetly and giving her loving words of affection as they showed her how grateful they were for her being alive and well.

She slowly stood up as she unsuccessfully tried to smile at the two and, as she steadied herself against the pillows, she turned towards Pietro and almost stopped breathing.

Life | Steve Rogers.Read this story for FREE!