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"You're an idiot."

Sam had just opened his eyes and those were the first words he heard from his friend, Steve Rogers. He looked around carefully, and yes, he was in a hospital. Not surprising, since the last thing he remembered was diving from a hundred feet in the air into an explosion.

"I'm pretty sure I saved your life," Sam said, sounding more weak to his own ears than he would have liked.

"Don't do that," Steve replied.

Sam turned his head and got a good look at Steve. He was standing there in his street clothes -- a t-shirt under a blue jacket and jeans -- and other than a few scabbed over scrapes on his face and a bandage around his right wrist, he looked fine. Perfect, even with his tightened jaw as he glowered at Sam.

"Are you seriously getting a superhero complex on me now?" Sam asked. He coughed to clear his throat. "You want to work alone, or what? Too big to be saved?"

Steve's face softened a little. "No, I'm not. I know that I'm not."

"Are you sure about that? You're not invincible, man. You can die just like the rest of us, and I'm going to prevent that from happening if I can." Sam tried to keep his voice even, growing stronger with every word. He wondered, for just a moment, what his injuries were. He didn't feel much pain, and he hoped that was from a steady dose of pain meds. "Even if you're not very grateful."

"Sam," Steve said, almost under his breath. He wrapped one hand gently around Sam's wrist. His skin was warm. "I appreciate what you did, but I can't lose you. I've already lost too many people. I just can't."

Sam gazed up at his friend and suddenly, he understood. He reached over and placed his other hand over Steve's. "You're welcome."