Chapter 28

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Hey you guys! This is the last chapter, I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I did. Thank you for not sending any hate, it's been really freeing to be able to share this with people. Anyway, here's the ending.

It took a little while to recover from the mission. I was the most banged up, physically, and emotionally. My flesh arm was all cut up, and my little face wounds were infected, and I actually ended up having a fractured rib.
I didn't talk to anyone, not even Peter. I stayed in my hospital room for two weeks, until I was healed. My enhanced body, along with the advanced technology in Stark Tower allowed me to heal in record timing.
I split my time between my room during the day, and the gym at night when I couldn't sleep. I wasn't the only one in the gym at night though.
Winter was always on the other side of the room, lifting weights, or punching bags. I never looked at him, but I could feel him watching me. Longing to go over and talk to me. But he was smart and kept his distance.

I was getting better, slowly. Whenever Peter waved, I waved back. I started eating again, and I met people's eyes again.
I also found out when my birthday was, September 9.
September 9 also happened to be the day of my annual visits to the Electricity chamber. HYDRA would bring me into the chair and check my mental strength by electrocuting me to the point where I could barely stand for almost a week. Of course, I'd also go whenever I messed up a mission, it wasn't as bad though.
Months and months went by, maybe a year. I lost track of time. Steve and Clint were the only people I talked to, but over time I tried to avoid Steve.
He tried to convince me to start talking again, and he wouldn't stop. I needed time to think to myself. But the farther away the mission became, the more I realized that I had nothing to think about. All I knew was that Clara was dead.
I was numb.
One night in the gym, I don't know what I was thinking. But when Winter came into the room, his eyes bloodshot and puffy, I hugged him.
At first he was shocked, and his arms flew up because he didn't know what was going on. But eventually, he brought his flesh arm down and wrapped it around me. Slowly, and hesitantly, his metal arm followed.
Everything felt right in that moment. I had only ever been hugged by Clara, but that was different with this. Right here, I felt safe, and I knew that we were going to do whatever it took to protect each other, because that's what family does right?
Eventually we pulled apart and I could see tears rolling down his cheeks.
"You know," I said. "I don't have any stripes."
He raised his eyebrow, and I pointed to his arm,and traced the stripes etched into the vibranium metal. I didn't have stripes on mine, just grooves, like his old one.
"Oh," his voice cracked. "That sucks?" He chuckled.
I looked around at the empty gym.
"Do you want to go get some food?" I asked.
"Sure," he shrugged. "I haven't eaten since dinner."
We left together to go to our floor's kitchen. Steve was actually in there, drinking some coffee. He nodded when we walked in together.
"You guys alright?"
Winter nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, we're alright."
Steve smiled and set down his mug to come over and embrace us both.
"I'm so glad," he whispered.
Winter smiled one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen anyone smile, which made me smile.
Everything was alright.
At least until my siblings came along.

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