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A Second Chance

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Brother and sister in bond but not blood sat next to one another, on the porch of their home, sorting through memories both new and old, watching the past, present, and future to the worlds those memories reside in. Seeing the many lives, they have lived.  An odd experience to see all the possibilities if one was not familiar with it.

The brother scoffed, looking over their latest world. “I can’t believe that whole civil war mess was avoided in this world because I had tits and apparently Captain America likes those.”

The sister fell over on the brother laughing, her head resting against his shoulder. It was the lightest the brother has ever seen her. “No, it was avoided because girl you actually had communication skills that Steve and all of your male selves lacked. You two always loved each other, the hydra Steve proved that when he was talking to you in a coma. Speaking of which,” the sister looked smug. “Director of Shield huh? They could have done worse.”

The brother let out a gasp. “I’ll have you know I was an amazing director.”

The sister nods, her brother was right. Her lips pucker in concentration, noticing a pattern in all their lives. “Did you ever love him? At any point?”

The brother rests his head against the sister’s. “You of all people should know someone can love more than one person at a time. But they do say timing is everything.”

The sister grabs the brother’s hand, trying to not let the memories surface of the couple on the farm. She could think of them both separately without too much pain, but both of them together in her thoughts made the ache worse. “I hope they're happy.”

 “I hope they get lives.”

The sister let out another giggle.

 Before they could stroll down farther on memory lane the brother and sister took notice of a shining light coming towards them. A celestial being, creatures who help guide and guard those souls who have moved on to the afterlife. Often not having a defiant form or gender, switching and shifting like the wind, often identified by a mark on their foreheads.  This one is called Nova, who prefers a female form of whatever species they have imitated. Today she was a small human girl with tanned skin, and long, black curls. A six-pointed star sits on her forehead.

“Mr. Tony Stark, Ms. Natasha Romanoff,” Nova greeted them, her voice echoing.

 Natasha bowed her head. “Lady Nova.”

"What’s up star child? Came to visit little ol us?” Tony greeted with a lazy wave.

“This isn’t a social visit I’m afraid,” Nova said climbing the stairs. “As the elders have said before the universe is in your debt Mr. Stark, and the debt of the Avengers. They wish to reward all of you.”

“Reward?” Natasha asked cautiously. Tony looked at Nova skeptical.

“We are offering you and the other original Avengers a second chance,” Nova explained slowly. “A do-over if you will.”

Tony and Natasha looked at one another. A second chance? A second chance for what?

“Nova, what do you mean?”

Nova said nothing. They led the two humans to the lake near the house where they waved a hand over the water, showing the humans a specific life instead of a random one, and then pushing them in.

 

Steve’s eyes felt heavy. Heavy in a way he hasn’t felt since he woke up from the ice. He doesn’t want to open them yet, it’s the longest sleep he has gotten since the final battle with Thanos. Natasha’s and Tony’s funerals were earlier this week, and he has to return the stones in the next few days.  Maybe he can finally-

Steve’s muscles tense up. He hears a radio; a baseball game is on. A very familiar baseball game.

Just an absolutely gorgeous day here at Ebbets Field. Phillies managed to tie it up at four to four. But the Dodgers have three men on.

Steve’s eyes shot open. It’s that same game, the one from 1941, the one Shield tried to use to trick him. He looks around the room, the same white and green walls, same white curtains with the same backdrop peeking through the windows.  Steve looks down at himself, a white Shield shirt and khakis, the same clothes he wore the day he woke up seventy years in the future.

The door opens, revealing the same woman that had tipped Steve off the first time that something was wrong. All the same mistakes as before, from her outfit to her

“Where am I?” Steve found himself asking the same question.

“You’re in a New York hospital Captain,” the woman answered.

This isn’t right! Steve’s mind screamed at him.

Just as before two agents came into the hospital room, and just as before Steve broke out of the fake set and through the Shield headquarters. Just as before Steve ran into the busy streets of New York, but unlike before he had a destination in mind.

Steve ran and ran, until he finally saw it, the tower. It looked just as it did when Steve came out of the ice all those years ago, even having Stark written across the top instead of the Avengers logo.

Could he really be?

Steve grabbed a nearby newspaper, the date confirmed it, 2011, just a few months before Fury would call the team in for the very first time. But how? Bruce was still rebuilding the machine for time travel.

“Steve!”

Steve whipped around, in a dark alley he saw two of his teammates, Bruce and Clint. They were waving him over. He could hear Clint talking to Shield through his earpiece. “Don’t worry I got him, I’ll bring him in soon.”

“What is going on?” Steve demanded.

Bruce and Clint had taken Steve to a nearby café where they could talk without Shield overhearing them.

“We’ve both been back since the beginning of the year,” Bruce began to explain, sipping his tea. “I woke up in India.”

“And I was in New Mexico where Thor first showed up, he was there as well. He remembers too,” Clint added. “We found each other, and then we found Bruce. Thor made a deal with his father to return to Earth earlier than what originally happened. We also looked into a few others like Scott and Rhodes, but it seems we are the only ones who remember.”

Bruce picks the conversation back up. “We weren’t sure if you would remember.”

Steve filled in the blank. “Because I was still in the ice up until recently.” He ran a hand through his hair when he froze halfway through. “Tony and Nat, are they?”

Clint and Bruce glanced at each other before nodding. All three men looked ready to be sick. The two who gave up their lives less than a month ago to them still had years left now to live.

“We have no idea if they remember anything, but we’re assuming they don’t,” Clint said. “Neither have given away that they do remember.”

Steve let out a shaky breath. Tony, Tony was alive again. Steve had a second chance, a chance to finally not wait too long, a chance to make everything right. He could do it right this time, find Bucky, take down Shield, make sure the Avengers never split in the first place. He could be finally honest with Tony.

Back in his Shield apartment, Steve read over the files given to him, his eyes glancing at each one until he landed on the one he wanted most.

Name: Anthony Stark

Creator and pilot of the Iron man armor. While dying of palladium poisoning Stark acted irrationally and out of control. He had no respect for authorities and had to be physically tied to his house to complete the lifesaving element that Shield requested. Had this been his normal behavior I would have said Iron man, yes, Tony Stark not recommended. Despite this behavior digging deeper, I had found that his genius intellect is outmatched by his heart and how much he cares for others. This is why I recommend a second profile be made of Stark when he has recovered fully.

 

Agent Romanoff.

 

The letter, it was different this time around. Does Natasha remember? Does Tony? Steve rereads the report once, twice. He sets it down and stands up tossing on his leather jacket. There’s a lot Steve has to do this time around, but first, he needs to make a trip to his home.