It was black as pitch, rendering even his superior sight useless. There was no discernible light source, not even the glint of a camera lens and he was fairly certain he was completely entombed in whatever they had placed him in. His ears held the slightest of pressures, barely noticeable save for the fact he was looking for it, and not a single sound filtered through what he was fairly certain were some truly advanced ear plugs.
He floated in water, salt water by the tiniest of scents, the taste distinctive in the stale air even though there was something more to it, and its existence simply making sense given his current buoyancy. The temperature was no doubt a precise 98.6 degrees but, unfortunately for whoever currently held him, the serum that ran through his blood made him run cooler than the standard human. The result was that he felt the warmth slosh against his skin, a sensation at least one good friend would have likened to floating in a sea of piss. It was an unpleasant analogy, but an accurate one, and only the fact he was fairly certain that someone somewhere had some way of checking on him stopped him from voicing the thought out loud.
Clearly they had tried to deprive him of his senses, tried to disorientate and confuse. He had no idea how long he had floated in whatever tank they held him in and therefore had no idea of how far away he may have been taken. He did, however, know that this was information he would be privy to very shortly.
He tested his reach. Reactive ties held him, tightening ever so slightly when he let his hand move further than the drift he had allowed thus far. He tried a different tactic, moving slowly in barely there motions, his momentum far from enough to activate the material. It took longer than he would have liked, but provided him with valuable information, mainly that no one had a visual to stop him.
Hours or minutes later, he was able to remove the lightweight plug from his left ear. He held onto it for now, not trusting that the sides of his prison were not rigged to detect impact from something so slight even if they had yet to detect the slosh of the water. Barrier gone, he could now hear the movement of the water, the sound of his own breath echoing in the chamber. The faintest whisper of voices through the undoubtedly supposedly soundproof material.
Guards. Extremely bored guards. Extremely bored guards that in no way, shape, or form thought he posed any sort of threat given their awesome technology and the gas that was being pumped in with him. He could taste it now that he knew to try, the extra almost chemical hint to the salt that he could not identify previously.
He flexed his toes experimentally, then his fingers. He kept his movements at the same impossibly slow pace as before, assuming his legs as well as his hands were encircled with the same bindings. He estimated a loss of strength of approximately fifteen percent, not even a full twenty like the time Tony had made a faulty experiment of his own. That mixed with the lethargy of what was probably a sedative as well as simply not moving for an unknown period of time all played a role in his grand plan.
Not that it was truly that grand or surprising. He listened, he flexed, and he waited. When the guards seemed well and truly less than attentive, he made his move.
His hands found where the reactive cords tethered him to the sides and yanked on the connection, hard. The restraints now having nothing to hold him to, he wasn't bothered when they tightened around his wrists when he swung outward and upward. He aimed towards where the sound was the tiniest bit louder, assuming that was at least near the outer latch or a weak point.
It took four blows, which rather gave his whole escape attempt away, but he found all but one of his guards were distracted by something other than him anyway.
Fate, it seemed, was a pesky and piddly thing, and he managed to throw open the hatch just as his team came careening around the corner into the room. This was actually a good thing as his ankles were still bound to the side of the tank, the bindings growing tighter with each movement and frankly being an annoyance more than anything else.
A tug and he was not relieved of those ties but they were now at least attached solely to torn pieces of his very recent prison, and he could step freely away to join the fray.
Only there really was no fray. Because his guards were standing shell shocked, attention apparently torn between his team and him, grips on their weapons loose enough for him to simply swat them away from the five men wholly unprepared for what they currently faced.
Unfortunately, what they faced were some very surprised Avengers and a very naked Captain America.
"Whoa, Cap..." Tony said in what might have been surprise or admiration.
"Whoa, Cap," Natasha echoed with an unapologetic grin on her face and a playful leer in her eyes.
He rolled his own eyes, having expected no less, and asked, "Can I please get something to wear? Some help with these tie things wouldn't go amiss either."
Tony pretended to ponder that for a moment before asking, "You sure? Because that is totally a good look on you."
Clint peered around the other two and asked, "Are we having a naked day? Because I'm totally on board with that. In fact, I can join you in you nudity so you don't feel so alone if you want." He reached for a buckle on his vest, but let his hand be slapped away by Natasha.
"Pretty much everyone here has already seen you naked, Barton," Tony pointed out, earning murmurs of agreement from both Natasha and two of the guards. "At least with Cap there's something new."
"And something chilly. Clothing, please?" Steve asked patiently, hands on his hips now to keep himself from fidgeting. It was less of being uncomfortable with his own nudity and more that he had just been laying in warm water for who knew how long and now had no defense against the clearly air conditioned room.
Clint tossed him a go bag, which meant he had been carrying it all along. Steve dug past the medical supplies of the first layer, tossed the cuffs from the second layer to Natasha to allow her to finish up with the guards, and then finally found a pair of sweatpants at the bottom. He pulled the navy blue cotton up his legs, ignoring Tony's overdramatic sighs of regret, pleased to find they fit at least somewhat. Most of the bags were one size fits all which meant Natasha would be left swimming in excess fabric and even Clint needed to roll the cuffs, but it did mean that they were only slightly tight on him and that was better than the alternative.
There were socks with little sticky things on the bottom in the bag as well. He weighed those against walking through the undoubted debris his teammates left in their wake getting to him, and decided even that extra layer was probably a good thing. A hoodie finished off the ensemble, though it was as much of a pain to thread the remaining ties through the sleeves as it had been to get the socks over them, broken metal and all.
"New tech for you to play with," he offered Tony, and Stark's eyes lit up with far more sincerity at that. He had already found the source of the anesthetizing mist and both turned it off and scanned the others to make sure they had no reaction to slight plume that still drifted out from the tank.
"It is my birthday?" Tony asked, back to his playful mood even as he methodically reviewed and destroyed everything in the nearby surveillance system he had found. "A naked Steve Rogers, a bunch of idiot Hydra goons to poke at, plus new toys? Check the date, Barton, 'cause I'm thinking Christmas just came early."
Steve just flipped him off, which seemed to shock the hogtied Hydra agents more than him stepping out of their sensory deprivation tank that they had apparently been getting ready for further transport. It was as if his American icon status negated the thoughts of him ever doing such a thing instead of them realizing he had served both in the U.S. Army and with the lunkheads he called friends for as long as he had.
He peeked out into the hallway, not at all surprised to find complete and utter devastation. "Did you guys leave anything for me to do?" he asked, perhaps a little hopefully.
"Really, Cap, you've done enough," Tony assured him, looking him up and down suggestively in case he didn't pick up on the subtext.
He was tempted to unzip the hoodie just to taunt him, but decided to behave for now. If his friends were mocking him, it meant they were fine. If they were fine, it meant he was fine, no matter the physical state of his health. He was tired and still a little damp and needed to use the facilities sooner rather than later, but there were far worse fates he could, and likely eventually would, aspire to.
For now, he joined in the gentle ribbing and added a few pointed comments of his own. Later, he'd become guinea pig for Stark as he poked at the tech and found a way to cut him free. Later still, there would be plenty of good food and a choice of desserts horrible movies and, more likely than not, at least one attempt to talk Barton out of streaking through Central Park.