So if you’ve seen Infinity War,
you know what I want from the next Avengers movie?
I want Steve to be the only one of them able to wield the soul stone, and that that’s what ultimately brings everyone back. EXCEPT, there’s a price. So he takes the soul stone and (Idk, imbues it with power by channeling the universe through himself into it,) and he, and the rest of the Avengers, get back to earth as people start reforming in little swirls of ash and dust, restoring all the people.
And Nat’s all “Get out there! Go! It’s happening, you did it!”
And Steve just sit down, and shakes his head, and says, “I don’t need to.”
Natasha shakes her head.
“What do you mean?” She says, and he just looks at the table top.
“It came with a price,” he says. “Because I’m the one wielding it, the price had to be someone I love.”
And for a moment, Natasha can’t believe what she’s hearing. She knows exactly what that means, and she can’t think of anything to say. What can she say? In the face of everything, again, it’s Steve who end up with nothing, and Bucky Barnes who won’t be coming home.
And Steve can’t even speak anymore. He just sits there, at one of the big Wakandan conference tables, staring down at the table top and seeing nothing but all the memories he’ll never get back, because the soul stone always asks for a sacrifice.
Because Thanos didn’t really love Gamora, nobody’s ever seen what really happens when you sacrifice someone you love.
Because it’s not about destroying someone who cares for you, or proving you’ll hurt the closest person to you, it’s about proving you’ll destroy yourself unforgivably, in order to use the stone for its rightful purpose. It’s not about throwing someone off a cliff, it’s about showing you’ll give the only thing that makes you whole, in order to save a universe.
It’s not about resurrecting everyone except one person, it’s about giving everyone in the universe their loved ones back, everyone, except you.
And when you mean it, when you really, truly sacrifice your own heart and soul for the greater good,
The soul stone knows.
it knows your love, and pain, and sacrifice, and the worth of those things.
So when Steve hears bootsteps on the marble, and the soft whirr of vibranium gears, and the astonished and hopeful voicing of his name, he can’t even turn and look. He just collapses in on himself, face screwed up, hot tears streaming down his cheeks, teeth bared, because relief comes like a tidal wave, without warning, without temperance, on the heels of everyone they’ve ever loved and lost.
And Bucky pulls him around and against him, wraps his arms around Steve, cradles Steve’s head in his hand and holds him while he weeps, tells him it will be alright, and it will. For once in their lives, for once and forever, this will be it. No more fighting, no more running, or hiding, or hurting, or searching.
The soul stone has given them this and taken Thanos away, and Steve can’t even speak but his name, can’t even pull away to look at him. He’s just so glad, so relieved, so painfully, desperately grateful that he doesn’t have to be alone, but they don’t have to be without each other.
And when he does, when he manages to draw a great lungful past the sobs, when he manages to clear his aching throat and closed his stinging eyes, to God and the Universe and the Soul Stone, he can only whisper his thanks, and hold on to Bucky just as tightly as Bucky holds him back.