Chapter Four

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Steve often lay awake at night and thought. It’s not hard. His bed was too soft, and it felt like he might sink too far through the floor if he closed his eyes. So, he lay awake and stared at the ceiling, his muscles tense and watching the sliver of light breaking into his room through the door that adjoined his room to Keight’s. After Ultron, he had insisted that they stay close to each other, and it was lucky he did, because he was the only one strong enough to stop her when the nightmares started.

It wasn’t surprising, really. They were all affected by Wanda and the visions she showed them, and the loss of Bruce, Thor and Pietro just made it worse. But while everyone else might have woken up screaming, or with legs tangled in sweaty sheets, or paralysed, none of them tried to hurt themselves like she did.

Sometimes, Steve would find her with blood under her nails, and long red welts across her arms and chest. Other times, there were burn mark in her sheets, and her eyes were bloodshot and puffy. It was almost like she was trying to punish herself, and he knew there were plenty of things she felt guilty about.

And every morning, she would get up and smile, and pretend that she wasn’t so broken. He guessed that was one thing they had in common.

Steve heard a whimper from next door, and he sat up, ramrod straight. Silently, he slipped on a shirt and snuck through the open door, into the dimly lit room. His foot hit something, and it clinked against the wall, but he didn’t have time to see what it was because the whimpers slowly got louder and became manic sobs. In the shadows, he could see her curled up in her sheets, her hands covering her face, hair plastered to her skin with sweat. She was mumbling something, but from across the room he couldn’t tell what it was. Steve had learnt to be careful and stealthy when it came to these situations, and tonight was no exception. Her hands flashed white, the light inside outlining the burn scars that adorned her palms.

He knelt by her bed, careful not to knock over the bunch of books, bowls and cups stacked precariously on her bedside table.

“I killed them all, I killed them all,” she muttered, her eyes moving frantically from under her eyelids. Her legs pulled against her chest, and her hands started to burn brighter against her face, making her pale skin glow green and white in the darkness. That was his cue to gently grab her arms and move them away from her face, and towards him. She shook her head and struggled against him, kicking out with her legs, but he kept his grip on her arms tight, and shuffled closer to her, almost sitting on the bed.

“Keight, you need to wake up,” he said firmly. Her hands dulled, but still she shook her head and mumbled.

“I killed them all. I killed the Avengers. I killed them all.”

Steve stopped, for one moment, and stared at her. Her face was contorted in a mix of pain and anguish. She had never said that before, and it clicked. Her worst fear, the one that Wanda had shown her, wasn’t that they would all die, and she would be the only one left, like Tony’s.

It was that they would all die, and she would be the one to kill them.

He let go of one arm and cupped her face with his hand. She relaxed, and the anguish on her face melted away. Her muscles loosened, and the hand he had let go, no longer glowing, touched his cheek gently. He could smell whiskey on her fingers. It must have been the whiskey bottle that he knocked over on his way in.

“Steve?” she whispered, and her eyes opened, bloodshot and bright. He grinned at her, not sure she could even see him in the dark.

“I’m here. Don’t worry. I won’t leave,” Steve said quietly, and he meant every word. She slowly sat up, her chest heaving, and Steve couldn’t help but see how much she had changed. The shadows across her face highlighted the sunken cheekbones, the dark under eyes. And still, he could see her as nothing short of beautiful.

UNRAVELLED ~ STEVE ROGERS [3]Where stories live. Discover now