"Sit down," he peremptorily said, and Marnikov waited for a moment before following the order.

"Are you enjoying your stay here, Mr. Marnikov?" the man asked. Marnikov shrugged and looked around himself, sighing.

"It's not really a place fit for wealthy men like me, you know. After all, I provided you a very useful arm-"

"Watch your mouth. We still have to make sure you're from our side, and as it is now, the bracelet is not as useful as it should be. But you could help us." The man stood up and walked around the desk. Marnikov stiffened as the man placed his hands on his shoulders, squeezing painfully.

"What else do you want?"

"You'll soon find out."


It was already dark outside when Steve, Bruce and Hazel landed on the ground, the cold breeze hitting them as they walked out of the quinjet, looking around themselves.

"That's too quiet. My mind's already spinning around," Hazel stated, sighing as she watched the quinjet taking off. She tightened the grip on her backpack and surpassed the others, walking towards the apparently normal house they were staying in. She was sure it was exaggeratedly modern and technological inside, but tried not to show her annoyance because she knew Bruce and Steve didn't enjoy staying there as well.

The house was surrounded by literally nothing that wasn't trees and uncultivated fields. She thought Pietro would have loved it, but as she thought back to Marnikov's words, she knew it was the best for them to be separated. And, after all, she didn't like the idea of being around Wanda anymore.

The betrayal she had thought was slowly disappearing had started to grow inside of her, instead, burning her from the inside. She couldn't understand why she was so upset about a person trying to save her only family, she would have probably done the same, but it didn't seem to convince her to calm her senses down. She was feeling anger boiling in her and not even her powers were able to control her thoughts anymore. She knew for sure that saving Pietro had destroyed her only chance of developing the ability to resurrect people, since she had felt that power slowly fading as she transported life in him, and it made her almost hate him as well.

But her hate was mainly turned towards Marnikov. She couldn't even stand the idea of him without feeling her cheeks heating up and the power threatening to destroy everything around her, even herself.

"Hey, what's up?" Steve walked next to her and carefully placed a hand on her waist. She realized only in that moment she had been staring at nothing in particular for more than could have been considered normal.

"Do you ever feel angry?" she asked, turning towards him.

"What do you mean?" he smiled, removing his hand from her waist.

"The people who hurt you, the people who made you suffer. Even the ones you didn't think would do something like this?" she shook her head and turned away before even finishing her sentence. She was being stupid, and insensible. She should have understood Wanda's reasons, and that was all. She had no right of criticizing her actions.

"Who are you referring to?" he asked, trying to reach her, but she wiggled out of his grip.

"I'm sorry, I'm just blabbering. Let's go see the house," she muttered without looking at him. He unsurely followed her inside, trying to shake off the realization that something had changed in her, something he didn't like.


The house wasn't as bad as Hazel thought. It was way comfier and home-like than she had expected, and at first she didn't even spot a single computer as she entered the living room.

"Tony decided to keep most of the high tech hidden. Besides, the lab is underground, to make it safer. But the rest of the home is just like this," Steve stated, turning on the light of the kitchen and walking inside, checking the furniture.

"I'm glad he has something like this as well. I'll probably stay here once everything's... over." Hazel's voice faltered at the end, her eyebrows furrowed as she realized she didn't even know what that 'everything' was. Who were they fighting against? Hydra? Marnikov? Is there even going to be an actual end to it, considering they had been fighting Hydra for more than seventy years and it kept reappearing?

Hazel shook those thoughts off as she followed Bruce downstairs, helping him to settle his tools and leaving him to get used to his new laboratory. She walked back upstairs and found the living room empty, as well as the kitchen. She followed the stairs and checked the rooms, searching for the empty one she was going to be in.

Steve had already left her bags in and had left a small note that said to reach him outside when she was done setting up. She quickly changed her clothes into comfier ones and tied her hair in a ponytail, brushing her teeth quickly before walking outside, taking in the cold breeze as she looked around for Steve. She found him on an old wooden bench totally not in Tony style –it was probably forced in there by Pepper- and smiled sweetly as she reached him, messing his perfectly styled hair before sitting down next to him, placing her head on his shoulder.

"Hey, I didn't see you coming," he said, raising his head from the tablet to look at her.

Hazel scoffed. "I didn't think Captain America could ever say something like it."

Steve playfully pushed her shoulder as he chuckled as well, their laughs subsiding almost immediately due to their tiredness.

"What are you looking at?" Hazel asked, pointing at the black screen of the tablet with her head.

"What we have so far about Marnikov. I feel that if I study him enough, I can understand what he's up to with Hydra, but I can't think of anything that isn't the desperate need of money and fame."

Hazel shook her head. "He's a psychopath, Steve. You'll never understand him, and it will only stress you out. We just need to find him and..." she stopped, her breath itching at the thought of what she was going to say.

"What?" Steve asked.

"N-nothing, nothing. I just..." she tried to laugh, but what came out of her mouth was more of a sob. "I'm not really myself these days, I think of things... not likely of me. I don't know what's up with me, but I guess it's because of what Marnikov said."

"He put you into difficult situations, and the way you reacted to them stressed you out. It's normal to feel like you want to end his life, Haz, but being a soldier for a long time, I learned something important. No one deserves death, but not for the reason you think. By killing someone, his life ends for good, but he will remain in your mind and in your memories for the rest of your life, haunting your dreams and making your life hell. The thing you should wish for him is to get taken and pay for what he did. Nothing more."

Steve grabbed Hazel's face and forced her to look at him, his eyes softening at the sight of her teary ones. "You'll be fine, I promise you that. But for now we need to concentrate on studying what your powers can do to you and to the twins, the others will do the rest and it will be all over before you even imagine."

Hazel nodded uncertainly as her thoughts went back to the twins. Not even Steve's words managed to calm her down and she knew she had to wait a long time before she could get a proper sleep without her mind reminding her of the monstrous thoughts happening inside of her.



Life | Steve Rogers.Read this story for FREE!