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Melancholy

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“Mister Stark.”

“What is it?”

“We’re about to run out of fuel. I think we should head back to the mainland now.”

“How much is left?”

“We have just enough to get us back. It's at least an hour, hour and a half at most.”

“Keep going.”

“But sir—”

“Thirty more minutes and then we leave.”

The captain eyes the other man, unmoving.

“Do it and it’s another thousand.”

And the captain is gone, disappearing below deck, leaving his dour benefactor alone.

Howard pulls his coat tighter, unused to such chilled temperatures. He hates how the ice goes on forever with nothing marring its pure white canvas.

He does not understand why he still needs to rely on them for this search while he can do it by his lonesome. He supposes the government, and not to mention his company, cannot risk their prize bull running stag without a leash—sometimes I regret creating this persona.

Howard leans against the rail and looks out to the ocean, watching the waves churn as the ship cuts through the water and stray icebergs.

He found the Tesseract just fine using the basic—not to mention highly advanced—tools possible, so a crashed aircraft should not be hard to miss.

He feels history is repeating itself like always. Great men brought down by humanity’s evil.

Melancholy has Howard reaching inside his coat and pulling out a worn journal. The embossed initials A.L. are barely legible against the leather cover. His gloved fingers trace the letters as he wryly chuckles.

The similarities are there: dutiful and honest, the childhood best friend, the brunette sweetheart, legacy builder, national hero.

Sometimes he wonders if Abe was reborn as Steve because the universe is that cruel.

The ship’s horn bellows as the watercraft shifts its course, heading further into the icy waters. He slides the journal back inside his coat and continues searching.

Howard cannot lose someone so important.

Henry cannot lose another good friend.