Chapter 59 - So Long, Goodnight

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Steve had been sitting outside the royal infirmary ever since they arrived and room Christina there

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Steve had been sitting outside the royal infirmary ever since they arrived and room Christina there. He'd waited, watching as people came and went, staring out the window as the sun slowly made its way across the the sky and eventually set. Nat came to join him after all, remaining silent as she took her seat next to him, knowing that he didn't want to hear anything from anyone.

It was almost sunrise and Nat had fallen asleep, resting her head against Steve's arm as he fiddled with his fingers, trying to picture every moment he had with her, just in case. He sat slowly when the doors of the infirmary opened, Mari waking up at his movement and then straightening herself up when Alex came out, his sleeves rolled up and a tired expression on his face.

"Is she...?" Steve began to ask, trailing off because he didn't want to make it a reality.

"No, she's very much alive," Alex asked, rubbing eyes and sighing softly. "I know because I feel what she feels, remember?" He added when Steve opened his mouth, his worried expression deepening. "The blade was laced with some kind of virus or something. Her body's built a protective barrier around her whilst she fights it off."

"But that means she'll wake up soon, right?" Nat asked when Steve couldn't find the words to say anything else.

"No," Alex answered bluntly, shaking his head. "The virus is strong. Like, really really strong. It's eating away at her and she's fighting back... She'll make it, that's for sure but not anytime soon."

"We can't go without her." Steve spoke up after a moment.

"She's not leaving this place like that, this is the only place she'll be able to get help."

"But we can use the SHIELD facilities, and get the best doctors on board-"

"Steve," Nat cut him off, keeping her voice soft and gentle so that the blow was less painful. "Her people know what to do with her. This is her home. She's in good hands."

"Then I'm not leaving until I know she's fine."

"We have to go, Steve, they're waiting for us, just as she didn't want to abandon her people, you shouldn't abandon yours." Nat tried to console him, turning to face him.

"I'm not going without her, and that's final."

"She wasn't coming anyway, Steve," Nat argued, her fatigue making her exasperated and irritated among other negative emotions. "She wanted me to give you this once we arrived on Earth because she wasn't planning on joining us." She pulled out the letter Chris had given her and then handed it Steve before getting up and facing Alex. "How long until we can safely open the portal?"

"Two hours." He answered her, glancing wearily at Steve who was staring over the envelope of the letter like it would open itself somehow.

"I'm going to get ready, then Steve." She looked over her shoulder at him, careful not to reveal what she was feeling by keeping her face expressionless. "Whether she survives this or not, the least you could do is honour her last wish. She didn't want you staying here for her because you have a duty to people." Then she looked ahead and made her way to her room to change back into the outfit she arrived in.

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