"Okay, so I need to recap this because maybe, just maybe saying it out loud will make things have this wonderful component called sense…. oh hell, what am I even saying? Our lives are a fucking comic book.” Tony takes a deep breath. “So basically, HYDRA’s got Death Eaters and if they’ve got Voldemort too, please, tell me we have Harry Potter on our side - and said Death Eaters have zapped our Cap into a kitten.”
"The itty-est, bitty-est, cutest kitty cat you’ve ever seen," Clint cracked, looking at Kitten America’s SHIELD file picture.
"She’s not Harry Potter but she’ll need time to figure out the counterspell," Natasha offered. "All we need to do is to get Kitten America back."
"Man, Steve isn’t going to live down the nickname, is he?" Sam snickered.
"Great. Just get Kitten America back, it’s doable," Bruce said wryly.
"If we can get him away from the Winter Soldier. Sure. Very doable," Tony returned, just as wryly.
"Who, for the record, apparently adores him," Simmons volunteered. "It’s cute."
Everyone stared at her. She crossed her arms over her chest and puffed. “Well it IS cute! And Kitten America is very protective of him. They make a good team.”
Tony threw his arms up in the air. “Sure. Let’s just allow the Winter Soldier and Fluffy Sidekick terrorize HYDRA through Death by Adorable. We’ll just get human Cap back later.”
"Look, basically, all our data suggests that Sergeant Barnes - because it looks like he’s regaining his memories - is pretty much doing the Roaring Rampage of Revenge thing, right?" Skye began.
"That and because he’s got red in his ledger," Natasha added.
"And also because he’s protecting Cap," Coulson said, tapping at footage in which a HYDRA scientist made the terrible mistake of threatening Steve Rogers, to which the Soldier had coldly responded: You will not touch him. And afterwards, said HYDRA scientist promptly had a bullet hole in his head.
"Exactly," Skye said triumphantly. "If we want to get Sergeant Barnes to come running, we need to let him know, somehow, that Steve’s missing.”
Tony, of course, had the best response to this. “As long as this plan doesn’t involve all of us getting bullet holes in our heads from Cap’s Angry Russian Sniper Boyfriend, I’m game!”
If he didn’t know better, there was almost an element of worry to Punk’s meows as he butted his head against the Soldier’s cheek in an effort to offer comfort.
Steve Rogers was missing.
The Avengers and what remained of SHIELD were all frantic in their efforts to find him. And there wasn’t a sign or trace of Steve, even as Bucky was systematically going through every HYDRA cell he could find. HYDRA, despite its epic miscommunication fails, had at least managed to alert some groups to be on the lookout for the missing Captain.
This was no Avengers/SHIELD trap.
His fists clenched. His nightmares, based on his rapidly returning memories, were bad enough. He didn’t need to add the mental image of a screaming Steve being put in The Chair and subjected to the same torment that the Soldier had suffered. No.
"Fuck, no," he whispered.
As always, he gently scratched the kitten’s chin and his favorite spots behind his ear.
"I suppose we need to hook up with some of Steve’s new friends, Punk. Idiot’s gone and got himself in trouble again. What do you think?"
He got an offended bat on the nose with a paw for his trouble.
"He’s a trouble magnet, just like you. Can’t leave him alone, even for five minutes, apparently."
Somehow, Punk managed to make a meow sound almost exactly like the word Jerk, the same way Steve Rogers would’ve said it. To Bucky. To the Soldier.
The Soldier huffed in amusement. “Yeah. Let’s go make nice with Steve’s friends, then.”
- tbc -