Letters to Bucky (Part 11)
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Hang on lovelies, because this one was rough. Thank you for the love/comments/ likes/reblogs/ comments, you all are the best!
“Move.” Tony wove his way through the group of people in the lobby of the medical center. “Move!” he snapped louder, and the crowd started parting to make way.
“What can I do for you, sir?” the bored looking receptionist asked.
“Just directions to the elevator.” he said quickly. “I need to be up on the eighth floor right now.”
“I’m sorry sir, no one is allowed past the third floor without an appointment. Do you have an appointment, sir?” she didn’t look up once as she recited what she had doubtless said hundreds of times before.
“Are you serious? Do you know who I am?” Tony whipped off his sunglasses, and she glanced up then.
“Handsome and stressed?’ she shrugged. “Do you have an appointment?”
“I don’t need a fucking appointment!” he yelled. “You call Dr Persson and tell him that Tony fucking Stark is standing downstairs NOW!”
“Shouting isn’t going to get you anywhere, sir, now if you would please repeat your name-”
“Oh my god, what in the actual–”
“Tony!” he stopped talking when someone called his name across the lobby. “Tony Stark!”
“Wow, someone in this backwards country actually–”
“Maybe you don’t insult the Germans, huh?” Steve silenced him with a firm handshake and a quick comment. “Captain Steven Rogers.”
“Steve. Wow.” Tony looked away for a second to collect himself, to swallow back the emotion suddenly clogging throat, then met his gaze again. “Good to meet you, Captain. Wish it was under better circumstances.”
“You and me both.” Steve led him across the room to the elevators, pushing the button for the eighth floor. “I had kind of assumed I’d meet you at the wedding or something but–”
“Are you getting married?’ Tony asked, hardly caring, but trying for polite.
“I meant yours and Bucky’s wedding.” Steve said, and Tony snapped his head around so fast his neck audibly popped. “And I was completely joking.” Steve added, holding his hands up.
“It’s fine.” Tony took a deep breath. “It’s..fine. So he is…”
“Not doing great.” Steve finished. “But you will understand more when you see him.”
Silence fell in the elevator, until it slid to a smooth stop and the doors opened. Steve went first, and Tony followed quickly, down a long hallway, several medical personnel and down another short corridor until they stood in front of large observation windows, staring at the form on the bed.
“Bucky.” Tony’s voice cracked, and he covered his mouth with his hand. “What the fuck. What in the actual fuck is going on? Why is he strapped down? He’s not a fucking animal, he needs medical attention! Where the hell is–”
“Tony.” Steve said quietly, and pointed, as two doctors carefully uncovered his left arm.
“Oh Jesus. No no no.” Tony shook his head, staring at the absolute mess that was Bucky’s left arm. “What-what–” he stopped talking since he couldn’t do much more than swear, and crossed his arms, waiting for an explanation from the big blond soldier.
“I found him in an abandoned hospital, about a hundred and ten miles west of the farthest place the unit and I Had searched. Not more than a four hour drive as the crow flies, but we just never made it that far. Not in that terrain. It would have taken us weeks to cover all that ground, searching the way we were.”
“Not blaming you.” Tony said, barely audible. “Not even close.”
“Thank you. Because I’ve been beating myself up for days. Ever since I found him. Kicking myself for not pushing the unit harder to find him.” Steve cleared his throat. “He was sedated, handcuffed and strapped to a medical table. He was unconscious the entire time, until the plane arrived to get him out of there. Then he woke up and went to move and his arm- that, that piece of metal.” Steve was breathing harder. “He went to move his left arm, and it’s not all the way, um attached?- so he went to move, and I saw all those cords and wires jerk like..like nerves. And he just…screamed.” Steve rested his forehead against the glass. “Tony, I’ve never heard a man scream like that. His head was all bandaged up, there’s so many stitches under his hair, I don’t understand what they were–
“The metal arm is wired into his brain.” Tony explained dully, not able to take his eyes off the still-as-death soldier lying in the other room.” “His mind thinks it’s his real arm. Thinks the wires are nerves. And it’s nearly severed from his body. But it’s not, so all those wire nerves are just open and exposed and telling his mind how badly it hurts.”
“Good Christ.” Steve ran a hand over his face. “What the hell were they doing?”
“Exactly what we’re doing, just not as well.” he answered. “The super serum you injected yourself with has a robotic counterpart, which I have been working on. There were rumours that the Russians were working on the same thing and obviously–” he motioned to where Bucky lay so still. “They haven’t perfected it. Looks like they abandoned him half way through, just gave up and left him.”
“So what, they performed brain surgery on him? In some dirty hospital? And then just didn’t attach the arm all the way? I can’t imagine how much pain he’s in.”
“No.” Tony said quietly. “Neither one of us can.”
“I had to knock him out.” Steve confessed. “He was screaming, and I just…clocked him. Took him out with one punch. Wrapped the arm as close as I could to his chest and strapped him into the plane to get him home. They are pumping him full of sedatives all day to keep him still until they figure out how to help him. They seem to think they can’t just disconnect the arm, and they certainly can’t leave it there.”
“One punch?” Tony asked, eyebrows raised and Steve flexed his right hand.
“Before the super serum it might have taken two or three, but not anymore.”
“I don’t sleep a whole lot.” Steve said, still not taking his eyes off Bucky. “Ive become a lot more cautious, a lot more aware of my strength I suppose. I put a fifty pound punching bag through a wall when I was just warming up. Ran ten miles on the treadmill at the research facility in about thirty minutes. Maybe a little less, I’m not actually sure. Oh, and I’m actually two inches taller now. I used to be a flat six foot, now I’m six foot two and a little more.”
“Impressive.” Tony looked him over quickly. “So what, you juiced off and took off running across the desert?”
“Basically. I had to stay at the facility for a week, then they flew me back to base and I went looking for him. Not needing to stop to sleep a lot or even really rest made a difference.” he finally turned to look at Tony. “So you’re designing the robotics on our end? Is that why you are here? To try and fix this?”
“I’m here because it’s Bucky lying in that bed. I didn’t have any idea about the arm. But now that I’m here you can damn well count on it that I will be fixing that shit.”
They fell silent again, watching Bucky lying between all those machines.
“Do you love him?” Steve suddenly asked, but Tony didn’t answer, striding away down the hall, yelling for someone to find him Dr. Persson.
“Mr. Stark, I understand you were–”
“So, a soldier gets rescued and has a metal arm grafted onto his body like some sort of Frankenstein experiment and you didn’t think to call me?” Tony asked, pushing everything on the Doctors desk to the floor with a long sweep of his arms. He hefted a large suitcase onto the desk and opened it with a flourish.
“Well, we didn’t think–”
“That what? I wouldn’t want to see exactly how far along our Russian friends were with the same technology I’ve been working on?” Tony’s voice rose and the Doctor flinched.
“We were just going to–”
“Try to fix it yourselves? Leave that soldier sedated to the point of comatose and strapped down to a bed until he–he–” Tony took a deep breath, not even able to say the word. “You should have called me. You should be glad Captain Rogers called me. Kudos on the super serum by the way. Captain Rogers is the very definition of a successful super soldier and you should be proud of yourselves. Doesn’t mean I’m not still furious, but I will admit to being impressed.”
“Um, thank you?” the doctor said hesitantly, eyeing the pieces Tony was laying out on his desk. “Is that– did you bring an arm with you? Is this your prototype?’ his voice rose in excitement.
“I didn’t bring it with me, I had no reason to, considering you and your team had left me in the dark about this situation. However I had it sent over from New York, and you should be damn glad it got here so soon, because now we can fix this. Now we can fix him.”
“What do you need from me?”
“I need this desk, your lab, and for you to stay the absolute living fuck out of my way.”
–I’m going to hurt you today and I’m so sorry for that. I have to remove the piece of shit they tried to graft onto you. Each wire I snip is going to hurt you, and when it’s all done I’m going to sit in my room and cry into my whiskey because I can’t handle this. But I am going to save you Bucky. I will. I promise.
– the arm is off, but the ends of the wires are still exposed. Short of cutting your skull open again and tracing each wire, I can’t just rip them out.
–your whole body spasmed every time I touched the wires, and it almost killed me. It nearly killed Steve. He’s a good guy, you were right. Do you know he volunteered for the super soldier program just so he could go out and find you?
-he’s my hero. You both are.
–I’m so sorry for hurting you soldier
–I had to watch today as they opened your head up. They could pinpoint where the nerves are spliced with the wires, or something. I don’t really understand it all to be honest. I’m not really paying attention to be honest. All I can think about is seeing you open your eyes. My favorite shade of blue. I can’t wait to see them again.
– the doctors are scared to death of me. I think they think I will pay to have them killed if they mess this up. Little do they know all I’d have to do is look at Steve and he would rip them apart.
–we are rooting for you soldier. Please wake up.
–I attached your new arm today, the one I designed. They pumped you full of that serum they gave Steve to speed the healing, and I grafted the arm right into your shoulder. It’s a clean fit, a good fit. The serum will pump your strength so you hardly even notice the difference in arms.
–this sounds awful to say, but when we tested it, but probing at the impulse switches implanted in your mind, it worked beautifully. Fingers twitched, arm flexed. It worked, Bucky. But I know underneath all that sedation you are still feeling some of this. When you wake up, you will be sore for weeks.
–I am so sorry for that. Sorry for my part in hurting you.
–please wake up from this.
–I cut your hair today. Gave you a shave. You will need a shower when you wake up, but at least I can see that sexy jaw line again. The scars on your shoulder and collarbone are brutal, but I like them. Because you will survive this. And the scars will remind us of all you made it through. And I’ll try some mouth to scar therapy when you wake up. It worked so well on me, it’s bound to work on you as well.
–wake up soldier. I’m tired of never getting a reply to these letters. I haven’t left your bedside yet, and I’m not going to.
–Okay, I might have lied in my last letter. I have to be gone for a few hours, dealing with the research team and doctors and trying to figure out what to do with this program from here. But I will be right back.
–i’m leaving a notepad by your bed so if you decide to be an asshole and wake up while i’m gone, you can leave me a note.
–it’s been a long three weeks, soldier, but I’m ready to talk to you again. It’s time to wake up. Please wake up.
–please write me back
The word was shaky, barely legible, barely more than chicken scratch on the notepad.
But when Tony had come back to the room, late that night, the notepad had been lying in Bucky’s lap, a pen dangling from limp fingers, and Tony dropped his head into his hands and finally let himself cry.
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