Every single one of Tony's muscles feels strained, his skin burns and every movement is painful. It's dark and he wants to get away, he doesn't know where to go but anywhere other than that place would be good enough. He feels week.
Strong men surround him, yell at him. Tony doesn't understand what they're saying and when he doesn't answer they hit him. Someone roughly grabs his hair, his heart hurts and he can't breathe because his face is underwater. When they pull him back up, there's a man. He's bald and wears glasses and Tony is happy to see him. 'Yinsen', Tony whispers and the man smiles.
There are shots being fired and Tony feels heavy. Yinsen is wounded and Tony runs to him, his steps echoing loudly in the cave, but not loud enough from him not to hear Yinsen's whisper. 'Don't waste it. Don't waste your life.', he struggles to say before vanishing into thin air and Tony wakes up with a jolt, feeling sticky from sweat. The heart monitor beeps way to fast and he glares at the machine before letting out a breath that he didn't know he was holding.
This wasn't just his mind replaying what the Captain had told him earlier, Steve didn't mention Yinsen. It was a memory, and now that Tony is awake he remembered Yinsen, he remembered that he helped to built the iron suit Steve talked about the day before, he remembered the way he talked about his family and how he told Tony that he was a man who had everything, but had nothing. The memory of Yinsen dying in front of his eyes made him angry and he wished he didn't remember.
Pepper visited him that afternoon, and it was great, because he remembered her. Her hair was longer, but that was the only thing different about her, it was still Pepper and her presence was comfortable.
"How's Rhodey?" Tony says when she starts the annoying small talk you always have when visiting someone at the hospital.
"He wanted to come, but he's busy."
"Right. He's still my friend then?"
"Yes." Pepper smiles and holds back the urge to tell Tony that Rhodes was his best man.
"And you're here, so I guess you're not tired of me yet either." Once again she smiles. "I want coffee. Pepper, go get me coffee."
"I'm not your assistant anymore, Tony. And I don't think you're allowed to have coffee yet."
"Wait, what? You're not my assistant?"
"You promoted me. I run your company."
"How drunk was I when that happened?!"
Pepper just shook her head and smiled. Again. And that's the great thing about Pepper, she always handles things well and, if possible, with a smile. Sure, she'll get nervous and yell at Tony, but that's because she has to put up with Tony, and in his opinion no one deserves such a fate. But there she is, smiling, and Tony feels like he could just stay like this, not knowing what happened in the last seven years.
"What can you tell me about Steve Rogers?" Tony asks her, because if she's running his company he must trust her judgement.
"He's a good guy. A very good guy, don't ruin everything just because you don't remember him, Tony." Pepper had this stern look on her face, like a mother warning her son that if he messes up, he's going to pay.
"I don't even know what is there to ruin!"
"And I won't tell you. We spoke on the phone before I came here, he'll be here later."
"He's useless, won't tell me anything." Tony shrugs.
"What? You two are the ones ganging up against me!"
"We are not- Tony, this is for your own good. You have to trust Steve, no one can help you better than him."
"You could. At least I know who you are."
"He knows you better than I do."
Tony sneers and Pepper gives him that stern look again. He waves a hand dismissively as she gets up to leave.
It's not even five minutes after Pepper leaves when Tony starts to feel a headache and is forced to lay down again. He should have asked Pepper to bring him is iPad, looking at a white wall is not really entertaining and Tony feels that he might go insane if he doesn't do something. So he tries to sleep, hoping that maybe he will remember something else.
After twenty more minutes without being able to sleep, Tony gets bored of that so he sits up again. The wall didn't get any more interesting while he was laying down, so he groans and runs a frustrated hand trough his hair. Someone knocks on the door and Tony's not sure if that makes him happy or if someone's company will make him even more frustrated, but he he tells whoever it is to come in.
It's Steve, of course, and Tony definitely gets frustrated and groans again. Steve doesn't seem bothered by it and sits down next to his bed, on the same chair Pepper was earlier.
"What are you doing here?" Tony asks.
"Checking on you, what do you think?"
"I think it's unnecessary."
Steve wants to say that he cares about Tony, that he misses him at home, their home, and that's why he wants to visit him everyday. Of course, he can't say that so he ends up saying nothing at all.
Tony wonders if he should tell Steve about the dream he had, for some reason he almost wants to, but decides against it. He feels that it would just make things weird.
"Alright," Tony starts to break the silence. "Yesterday you said you wouldn't tell me everything in a day. Today is another day."
"Fair enough." Steve agrees. "Anything in particular you wanna know?"
"Did I continue making weapons after the whole Afghanistan thing?"
"No. You started using the arc reactor technology as an energy source."
"Oh. Okay. How did we meet?" Steve shook his head and Tony groaned. "Come on! Why won't you tell me?!"
"Because there are a bunch of stuff that you need to know before that."
"Start telling me that stuff, then!"
"It's not good to force the information in your brain."
"I was right, you're useless." Tony mumbles and looks away. There is a long pause before he starts talking again. "Did the arc reactor thing work out? For the company, I mean."
"Yes." Steve replies after a heavy sigh to clean the pain from his voice. "You're still rich."
Yinsen's voice is on his mind again before he even knows what's happening. 'So you're a man who has everything... And nothing.'
"Great." He says with a smile, the smile he always has on his face when he lies to the others and himself. He just doesn't know that Steve can see right through it.