Whatever it takes. If only he knew what it would take. If only he knew it would take her. If only he knew they would fail, and she would die for nothing.
Six stones. Three teams. One chance to undo everything. To save everyone. Whatever it takes.
As Steves body was pulled with force back through the quantum tunnel he had only one hope to what he would find on the other side. His mind focused on the six stones, and friends who had gone off on the dangerous mission to find them. Within his suit the space stone lie tucked away safely, eager to join its other cosmic pieces and fulfill the will of the holder. So much death and destruction was accomplished with such little objects, yet they knew it could also create life, bring back life, the billions who had faded away into dust.
Steve took a small faltered step as he felt his feet hit the floor, his body reemerging from the rush of the time passing through him. Heavy breathes emerged as he focused to get back his orientation. A brief motion of his hand pressed a button that retreated his helmet, she sapphire hues glanced around to one by one see the others returning. Thor and Rocket from Asgard, Tony by his side after coming back from Camp Lehigh. Scott had already been waiting for them, having separated from Steve and Tony when they lost the space stone in New York. Seconds later more appeared, Nebula and Rhodey from Morag, and Clint from Vormir.
It was the moment Clint appeared that Steve knew something was not right. The look on his face made Steve's heart sink down like a brick. "Where's Nat...." Steve asked, not even answering whoever had asked if they got all the stones. Natasha, the woman he loved with every fiber of his being... "Clint...." He wanted to question him, wanted to know what happened to her, but no words came. The look on Clint's face as he dropped to his knees gave him the answer. She was gone... Natasha Romanoff was dead.
Steve glanced around at the others. "Did we get them..." He asked, knowing they could not fail, not now. Rhodey pulled out a stone from his suit, the power stone one of the most dangerous. Bruce produced a small green stone in his hand, the time stone. He already knew without him taking it out that Clint had the soul stone, and Scott had been sent back ahead of them with the mind stone. Steve had the space stone in his pocket which brought the count up to five. Steves gaze turned to Thor and Rocket, both of whose expressions were one of defeat. Steve could feel his heart shatter as Thor only shook his head, confirming they had failed in retrieving the reality stone.
The others didn't know about Steve and Natasha, as it had only been a few weeks prior that they had finally addressed their feelings for each other. Ever since that stolen kiss on the escalator when they were on the run years ago, there had always been this pull towards each other. All the gazes, all the moments, right in their face yet unspoken for years. Their only regret was waiting this long to do something about it. So as the others watched Steve crumble to his knees, a rare sight of tears staining the outer corners of his eyes, they didn't know. They didn't truly understand the level of heartbreak above the rest he was feeling.
They failed their mission. They had failed her. HE had failed her. Natasha Romanoff had given her life up for a world that could no longer be saved.