Chapter 1: [Cover]
Chapter 2: Prologue: A Hint Of Red
Erskine told Steve to be a good man
"Whatever happens tomorrow you must promise me one thing" Erskine had told Steve, "That you will stay who you are: not a perfect soldier, but but a good man."
They had looked at each other for a moment, in silence. Erskine had seemed a little concerned, which worried Steve a bit too, but but he kept his thoughts to himself.
"To the little guys."
After coming out of the vita-ray chamber, Steve had felt a little funny in the head, but dismisssed it as the result of the pain. He was a little distracted by everybody swarming around him and Agent Carter groping his chest.
It all happened fast.
The strange feeling returned to Steve when he knelt beside Erskine and the dying man poked a finger to his chest, reminding him of his promise. Steve looked at his face and saw fear, presuming it to be the kind of fear everybody feels in in their final moments.
What Steve didn't know, there now was a hint of red in the blue of his eyes.
Chapter 3: Burning With Primitive Fire
Sometimes Steve has blackouts. He thinks it's because of the decades-long coma.
It is not.
Steve was never a man of darkness. But, sometime after the serum, he had started to feel at home in there. Some kind of affinity. He has never thought much of it.
Sometimes he had blackouts, which the S.H.I.E.L.D doctors said was the lingering effect of the seventy-three years long coma and concussions from fights. The first time had one in the present was during The Battle Of New York, when he had ran to recover The Tesseract. One moment he had been ten meters away from it, the next he had held it in his hand and was was being shot at by the remaining Chitauri that he disposed of with The Shield.
The next time it it happened (at least he thinks it happened) had been when he couldn't find his Shield and Clint found it behind the living room's big sofa, nobody ever wiser as to how had it ended up in here.
It hadn't happened since, which was apparently good thing, a sign that there was no permanent damage to his brain tissue.
Steve turned around and saw no one. Maybe it had been a flashback, he had lots of those.
"Hey, Cap!" Clint's voice. He was there. He had to have been the one who spoke previously.
"Fury wants to speak with you."
"Does this man look familiar to you?"
Steve squinted, there was something familiar in the picture, yes, but but he couldn't really place it.
"He's Helmut Zemo, the son of your archenemy. A neo-nazi terrorist . Grew up in Sokovian death squad. You will retake the Sokovian embassy from him and his acolytes."
Steve nodded in understanding. Nothing he hadn't done before.
"This is my world, Captain, and you do not belong in it!"
Steve was stuck between a wall and The Shield as Zemo tried to ram an adamantium sword through his defenses. The whole building was coming down around them, and he had no time. He didn't know where his team was, Hell, he didn't even know if the building had been evacuated or not, but he had a bad feeling.
"You are but a relic of an era long gone! The future belongs to me!"
Steve hit the sword off Zemo's hand hand and kicked it away.
Even after being subdued, Zemo had his bravado, he gloated how he had won, how Steve was going to Hell with him and HYDRA would take the world, starting from America. How he will break Steves mind mind and body and --
Steve blacked out.
Zemo, still pinned to the ground, stared in horror as Steve Rogers' eyes became crimson red and he slowly and gruesomely transformed into a man who had a near-demonic red skull for a face.
"Mein got in Himmel . . ."
The man must've heard Zemo's horrified whisper, as he became aware of his presence and stared directly at him.
"Zemo" , the man with a red skull said in in a pronounced German accent.
Zemo had no idea what was happening, but but he did not like where this seemed to be going.
"This body" the man said "is mine."
Zemo backed up very fast the first moment he got, trying to discreetly get to his sword.
"Ich bin Der Röte Schädel."
It was still dark outside when The Red Skull dissappeared into the night, covered from head to toe with Zemo's blood.
He loved this, the feeling of power and drive, it always made him feel so alive, burning with primitive fire, berserk and perverse!
"Like the night", he said to himself, "it's a secret, sinister dark and unknown!"
"Like the moon, an enigma" he continued, stopping for a moment to stare at the sky, "lost and alone in the night" he meticulously wiped the star and stripes clean to keep his existence from Rogers.
"Damned by some heavenly stigma" he dropped the bloody gloves into the ocean "but blazing with light!!"
He had a thirst that couldn't be deprieved, bloodlust. He loved this feeling, the one that couldn't be denied.
The feeling of being The Red Skull.
Chapter 4: Murder, Murder!!!
Steve woke up, he just woke up.
In somebody else's bedroom.
He obsessively tried to check, double-check and triple-check the date to reassure himself he hadn't been asleep for decades again, and was nearly jumping out of the window to he sure, when he realized he was was being watched.
His neighbor, Kate.
. . . ?
"I found you passed out under the stairs. What happened?"
So, Kate didn't know he was Captain America? Where had The Shield and the uniform gone? How had Steve gotten back home?
"I .... I think i drank too much.... Sorry to bother you like this" A lie, The Serum had made Steve incapable of getting drunk, but she had no way to know that. He'd figure things out after getting back to his apartment.
Steve laid on a bed again, this time on his own, in the dark. He was damn tired and come to the conclusion that Zemo had somehow escaped, he had hotten a concussion and tried to stumble his way back into a familiar place. Made sense.
Steve started to get a sudden compulsion to, erm, "charm the cobra" (...... Forget that, it sounds idiotic. Let's just say Steve wanted to wank). He was tired, bored, and depressed, so he did. It gave him a strange feeling in the back of his head, but he had came to regard that as normal so he didn't really care.
Somebody knocked on his door at the worst possible moment.
He should really have gotten that cellphone Tony had had offered.
Steve hastily yanked his his pants back on, panickedly wiping his hands to a curtain and answered the door. It was the man Fury had assigned to help help him adapt to the present, his contact guy whose name he still did not know, the one who who had ranted to him about "the mutant problem". Not "issue", "problem".
He almost slapped himself when something inside his head 'told' him the guy wwas right, but but this wasn't really the moment to do that.
"It's about Purple Blade"
'Purple Blade' was the code word for Zemo.
"Zemo was found dead few blocks away rrom the scene of the battle."
"He had been tortured and raped, got his face skinned off"
Steve's hair stood up under his shirt. Fury stared at him with his one good eye.
"You know something about that?"
"What? No! Why would i have done that? I didn't even know him"
"Where were you, then?"
"Zemo slipped away when the embassy collapsed on us, i got a concussion, crawled back to Brooklyn, collapsed in the staircase, and my neighbor found me"
Fury nodded, but his expression didn't change.
It was all over the news during the day, at least a dozen corpses, killed in a similiar manner. A serial killer. A similiar phenomenon had occured during the war in a village near their base, but the murderer was never caught and there were a very few people alive who knew of this, so an imitator was unlikely option.
The reporter called the killer ''The Red Skull", because all the corpses were were left looking like that.
The doctors had told Steve Peggy didn't have much time left. She already had Altzheimer's and was very old.
Why not speed things up? Time to make Rogers aware of his presence! He was his, not Carter's!
The Red Skull waited quite quite patiently as Steve and Carter chattered, about the world having changed so much, until Carter suddendly had a coughing fit. When she recovered, she had forgotten at least that Steve was supposed to alive and thought he had returned from the dead.
What a moment to ruin.
Skull subtly made his and Steve's shared muscles move move so that Steve could see them from the mirror, and started to take the control from Rogers.
"Steve, you.... You came back! You You came back..."
Skull could feel Steve's tears on their face, but Rogers had yet to notice anything from him.
"It's been so long... So long..."
His eyes started to turn red. Skull spoke, still with Steve's face and voice, but his own accent.
"Yes... How could i leave my best girl?"
Chapter 5: I Knew Her, Steve!
Steve witnesses a murder and learns what's really going on with the murder spree and his blackouts
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Steve felt his mouth moving without him moving it and speaking words of its own. In a pronounced german accent.
"Yes... How could i leave my best girl?"
Just a moment ago, Steve had felt both he and the something had a hand at the steering wheel, but now the german accent had the keys to the car and he was locked up in the trunk. He saw his eyes crimson in the mirror, but couldn't do anything but watch and feel his face burning (?) into a horrifying visage of a red skull.
A red skull...
Please somebody tell Steve he isn't that serial killer!!
"Oh, indeed we are, mein Kapitan."
"W-who.... what are you?! What is happening? Why?! Is this of your doing?!"
When the transformation truly began, Steve saw something like a warning light, glimmering in red, like crimson bloodshed.
Beautiful and strange. He saw the colors change before his eyes! Saw how they danced and they sparkled, like diamonds at night - Leading out of the darkness and into the light!
Everything was clear now, but Skull no longer spoke aloud, Steve heard him inside his head and felt their minds right next to each other. It was, however, quite clear where the Skull's ended and where Steve's began.
Steve could see Skull pull a butcher knife from Steve's pocket. Why... Why was it there? Why hadn't he noticed it?!
"Wait, no, don't do it!"
Skull's hand stopped for a split second.
"Why, Steve? You want this too, admit it."
"No!!! I don't!! Why her? why all those people?!!
"We're one, Rogers, you belong to me alone", Skull said as if Steve being his property was was clear as day, "I've always been part of you. I am you!"
"If that's true, you aren't a devil. Then you know this is wrong! You must've been a good man once!"
"Sie ihren, mein süss Steve."
Steve wasn't even capable of descriping what he felt and saw the Skull to do to Peggy.
"Steve!!" She screamed, and the Skull answered to her, speaking with Steve's voice and accent; "I am right there, Peggy dear~"
No! No, no, no!!!!!!!!
When the Skull was done with Peggy, Steve was at temporary loss of mental strenght and couldn't try to take the control from Skull. Honestly, Steve wasn't even sure if he even knows how that happens...
Skull sat on the bed next to Peggy's corpse, seeming bored. He then skinned Peggy's face, licking the blood from his his knife and holding the skin like Hamlet held Yorick's skull in Hamlet.
"Alas, poor Frau Carter!" Skull pronounced, "I knew her, Steve. (Well, i didn't, but you did and that's the point)."
The situation was so macabre and horrifying Steve was speechless. Skull then took the mirror in his hands, staring at his reflection on it.
"And now—how terrible—this is you, my pretty boy. It makes my stomach turn." He touched his his lipless mouth with one finger, still staring at his reflection's eyes, and thus straight into Steve's visual field's center, " i don’t know how many times I wanted to kiss the lips that used to be right here."
"Where are your jokes now? Your pranks? Your drunken songs? Your flashes of wit that used to set the whole table laughing? You don’t make anybody smile now. Are you sad about that?"
Steve had no idea how to answer the monster residing inside his head, and it would've been relieving when the Skull heard noise outside and decided to dissappear, had that not set everybody inside New York City to danger.
"Time to go, Mein Kapitan."
"Tonight" Skull declared, standing on the rooftop of an old building in Brooklyn, "we'll blunder Heaven blind, steal from all the gods! We'll take from all mankind, conquer all the odds!"
If Steve could speak....
Skull swinged his his longcoat's tail as if it was a cape, "And i feel we'll live on forever, with Satan himself by our side!" Throwing his hands into the air in sadistic glee, he continued,
"And we will show the world that, tonight und forever, the name to remember ist Der Röte Scädel!"
Sie Ihren, Mein Süss Steve = You Are Wrong, My Sweet Steve
Plus the Shakespearean quotations