Tony stood paralyzed. The video had stopped, and Steve could hear his own heartbeat in his ears. He was calm for a long time, almost impressively calm, and Steve counted every cautious heartbeat before he would have to raise his fists. It was always this way with Tony.
Bucky stood behind Steve, feeling himself radiate guilt so strongly. Confused guilt. But guilt. He had done it. He had been brainwashed, manipulated, tortured and so much more, but he had done it. Bucky closed his eyes, Maria’s pleads echoing behind his ears, clawing at his chest. He felt his muscles clench, and he realized he was so used to the tension knot in his body, he couldn’t remember what it felt like to be calm. He went through it again, when he ripped open the door of their car, when he threw Robert out like a fragile puppy, and he remembered the weight of the trigger, light as a feather, brushing around him screams and ash like a rush of warm air.
The video closed, but Tony could still see it in the darkness of the cave. He saw Bucky, ruthless. He saw his mother- the woman whose arms he never went into-fall, before gasping shockingly. Tony felt the snow cause his cheeks to burn. The Winter Soldier killed his mom. He felt the iron round his fingers clench into a fist. He felt as if a dam of rage, rage that had been gathering since he heard his mom was murdered, explode in his heart. “Who would’ve done it?” Now he knew who. And the insurmountable anger, like fire, flooded and whipped through his veins. He owed the Winter Soldier nothing.
Tony felt power build up in his chest, holding something else back, as he moved towards the murderer. But he felt a hand block him….
He looked at Steve. His helmet covered half his face, but he could see him just fine.
“Did you know?”
Steve saw Tony’s eyes shining. His mouth was set, as if he already knew the answer. He felt pressure build up in his chest, only before replying.
Tony’s helmet clipped shut, and his arm swang at Steve’s face. Steve ignored the cold but burning iron on his face, but felt himself spin and fall to the ground.
Tony launched himself to Bucky, and Bucky realized it had started. Bucky fought. Tony started this, and he would make sure he won. He hit Tony’s head, and then his iron arms, and then his ribs. He punched and kicked and punched and kicked….
Tony felt cold inside his suit. He was protected, but to what extent? He had been fighting for a while. He felt them hit him with all their might, denting the iron, breaking his thrusters. Every time he got close to the assassin, Steve would save him. The three of them ended on the floor, where Tony was being hit by the two of them. They fought like heroes. They were not heroes.
Steve felt the cuts and wounds on his face. He felt his shield fly from his hands to Bucky’s, to Tony’s face. but then he saw bright gold light, and felt himself fall on the hard, cold ground. He felt numb, his body aching.
Bucky saw Steve on the ground, groaning, and was overcome by impulsion. He pushed Iron man to the wall, and squeezed the helmet with his bare fingers, and his heart with his metal arm. He felt his fingers crawl and push, iron cutting them, and he felt his shoulder push, and push and push, till he screamed in pain.
His vision went pale, and when his eyes adjusted, he noticed his arm was gone. Bucky felt nausea build inside of him. He moved it. he didn’t feel pain, but he felt hollow. He wasn’t awake for the time he lost his real arm, but he was awake now, and this arm was the reality of what he had now become…which made him realize something. Slowly, he loosened his grip. He wasn’t fighting because he wanted to, but because he was trained to. HYDRA had trained him to not have a choice. He was a weapon, and did a gun have the choice to kill?
Steve saw Tony throw away his friend on the ground, and then he ran to defend him. He fought Ironman. Threw his shield at his face, used all of his energy and applied all the skills he knew. He pushed forward his shield at his hands, and realized he was using his hand blasters. He pushed, buried his feet in the ground, turned his arms to stone. He couldn’t let Tony get to Bucky. They fought and fought, until Tony fell down, and Steve knocked off his helmet with his shield, and buried it deep into his mechanical heart.
Tony couldn’t move. He felt the veins and bones inside his flesh ache. He felt them push down with as much force as he pushed them upwards with. He was paralyzed. He tried to roll himself towards the side, ready to throw up. He let himself feel the pain, worst of which went towards his heard. It clenched and throbbed and knotted and grated itself against itself.
Steve felt his soul locked as he bend down to pick Bucky up, his face splashed with blood. It was over.
“That shield doesn’t belong to you. You don’t deserve it. My father made that shield.” Tony spat.
Steve felt his heart heavy, and felt his soul clang against the cold stone.
He threw down his shield.