xxxiii. trap or victory

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"Tides will bring me back to you." -- Deathbeds, Bring Me the Horizon

~ ~ ~

Sam was sure they were going to die.

Steve swung back and let his shield fly, but it ricocheted off the mech, bouncing back. Cursing, Sam barely managed to throw herself out of the way as blue energy exploded where she'd been standing, sending pieces of rock and dirt flying. 

Scrambling back up, she shoved herself to the side, taking out her gun despite knowing it wouldn't do any good. 

"Ideas, Cap?"

"Keep it occupied!"

She complied, coming around the mech and driving her knife into one of its back circuits. The man controlling it swung it around, metal fist driving through the air. She tried to duck; too slow.

His fist caught her in the chest and Sam went flying, pain exploding through her entire body. She hit the ground and saw red, gasping sharply. Her brain screamed for her to get back up. Her body screamed for her to stay down.

Damn it all.

Sam managed to stand only seconds before the ground in front of her exploded. The mech's fists powered up again, aimed at where she stood. She phased out.

She practically felt the Tesseract's energy go straight through her.

Power surged through her blood and Sam raced forward, spotting Steve moving around the mech's back. The thing's attention was on her; she just had to keep it that way. She lifted her pistol, firing a few pointless shots.

The mech lumbered forward. Sam turned to run; only to freeze.

The mech wasn't alone. One of the largest tanks she'd ever seen rolled out of the castle gates, its cannon slowly turning to face them. A mechanical grinding filled the air. She stumbled back, turning to Steve.

"Rogers! Fair warning--"

She cut off as the cannon fired, dropping to the ground. The shot went straight over her head and hit the mech straight-on, sending the suit flying back. The man inside cried out and despite it all, Steve leapt into action, pulling him out moments before the armor detonated.

The moment he had his back turned, though, the cannon fired again. Sam couldn't get to him fast enough.


He barely managed to turn, lifting up his shield. The shot of blue energy sent him flying back, crashing straight through the courtyard wall. Panic alit under Sam's skin and she pressed the comm in her ear.

"Stark! Stark, come in! We need you, now!"

"Clarence?" Howard's voice was fuzzy at first. "Why, how can I be of assis--"

"We're under siege from a cannon of sorts. Our damn weapons aren't doing squat." She cut him off, racing toward Steve. The man picked himself up gingerly from the rubble, a long gash across his forehead. The Hydra soldier he'd tried to save laid crumpled to the side, lifeless.

Grabbing his arm, Sam gazed him up and down. Steve offered a small smile. 

"Well, that hurt just a little."

"God, Steve," she sighed in relief. He huffed, wiping blood from his cheek. The mechanical grinding grew louder and they turned, facing the oncoming tank. The cannon focused on where they stood, glowing blue as it powered up again. 

They leaped sideways and she pressed her comms again.

"Hey, Stark? You planning on helping?"

"Right, yeah, this is gonna be fun." Howard's voice faded out for a moment, then came back on. "You two need to get inside the vehicle. Okay?"

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