Born out of water,
Waves pushed her outward;
Of the sea she’s the daughter
And not one of a coward.
Child of the ocean,
Wild and free;
The tide set her in motion,
The wind whispers her decree
To erase mankind’s sins
And wipe them clean off their skins.
You created a monster;
A monster that you loved;
You loved her for who she was
And for who she was for.
You kept her to yourself
And wouldn’t want anyone
To touch her
To feel her
Or harm her.
You kept her hidden from
Like a treasured piece
That you could only admire.
She wanted to get out
And your jealousy broke her down
Until she snapped and put a dagger through your heart.
You didn’t create a monster, Frankenstein;
You were the monster
Whose plan backfired.
A/N: aaaaaaaaaand it’s back! I owe a thousand apologies for being so fucking lazy with this series, I have no excuses except that time period where I was shooting out one shots as they came to mind. I made this part longer to make up for it and things start to pick up from here. Also - I love the idea of Bruce and Bucky being bros? So this chapter gets kind of deep with them but I just like the idea of them being friends in general? Feedback’s totally appreciated, I love reading the replies you guys leave and I hope this makes up for the hiatus this series has been on xx
Word count: 2.4k
The clay pigeon exploded as soon as it reached the peak of its arc. You observed the shards falling to the floor of the shooting range, lowering your gun from behind the barrier. Tony gave clay pigeon shooting a whole new meaning.
‘Don’t you just shoot at paper targets?’
‘The CIA uses paper targets,’ Tony replied. ‘Competent people recognise that not all gunmen are going to stay still and give you time to shoot.’
Your eyes followed the next target; your bullet pierced it’s tail, catching it in the nick of time.
‘I’m gonna go for a drive later’, you grunted. ‘Haven’t been in the same building for three days since college.’
The automatic launcher chucked another three clay pigeons across the room; Tony shot three consecutive times from his gauntlet - all three were precise.
‘I need me one of those,’ you muttered.
‘Shut up and use your gun like an adult.’
‘Feel like a baby compared to you.’
‘You can have one when you’re older,’ Tony snapped.
‘Aww, as old as you?’ you cooed sardonically.
Tony shot down another target without even looking. ‘As old as Cap.’
‘A lot of surprises have come up, Stark,’ you warned. ‘For all you know, that could actually happen.’
‘God help us all,’ he murmured under his breath. ‘Why did I bring you here?’
‘Fuck if I know, I was gonna start season two of Attack on Titan.’
‘I meant in general,’ he stonily.
You snickered and raised the rifle eye level, shooting only two out of three launched targets. You watched the shrapnel scatter.
‘So I was going through some of the data you got on your last recon mission,’ you started.
Tony’s shoulders tensed.
‘You’re surprised I got through that security?’ you raised an eyebrow. ‘Anyway - does everyone know there are Hydra agents loose in New York?’
‘You sound like the narrator of a shit TV movie.’
‘Y’know, when people say clay pigeon shooting, they don’t mean actual clay pigeons.’
Tony rolled his eyes at your analogy.
‘I got creative,’ he deadpanned.
‘C’mon, Stark.’ You cleared your throat and put the safety on your gun like he had showed you. ‘Bucky wasn’t on that mission; did you tell him?’
‘Did I have to?’
‘I think he’d like to know if his previous captors are in the same city as he is.’
Tony leaned against the barrier, running his fingers over the scarring in the gauntlet; he had fixed the technical problems but now he just had to make it pretty again.
‘That info doesn’t stay with me anymore,’ he shrugged, trying to play it off. ‘You’re the one who figured out how to find it, you should know. Dunno if you remember, but I answer to someone else now, not Steve.’ He blinked. ‘And yet I still pay for everything, what is with that?’
You sighed. ‘They won’t let you tell him.’
‘They were barely happy with me letting him into the compound - letting all of ‘em back. I can’t push it.’
You nodded. ‘Fair enough,’ you admitted. ‘And I’m guessing no one else wants to tell him in case he freaks out?’
‘Steve recommended no one say anything until we find them. Telling Barnes his captors are somewhere we can’t find doesn’t help anything, ‘specially not him.’
‘And when you do find them, what then? Will Ross allow you to go?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Will he try to arrest the others for intervening?’
‘I don’t know. Go shoot your pigeons.’
You decided to take some time alone outside of the compound; you drove on your bike for almost two hours in circles before pulling over on a quiet near-abandoned strip mall just outside of Queens. Few patrons were milling around, but shopkeepers were sitting outside of their stores mingling and sharing cigarettes and stories, taking advantage of the lack of business. You tucked your hands in the pockets of your jacket as you passed a group of particularly unruly men. Their eyes followed you as you entered a quiet coffee shop.
The floors were wooden, unpolished, scarred, and there was a suspicious-looking stain in the far corner coming from underneath the door that lead to the bathrooms. Dark walnut tables were scattered haphazardly, their mismatched chairs even more so. The walls were made of crumbling brick and decorated with peeling posters of famous films and musicians from the fifties and sixties. Some light bulbs were out, a few were flickering incessantly, and aside from a man standing behind the counter and another mopping the floor (staying quite far, you noticed, from the dark stain), you were alone.
You sat at the counter and ordered a black coffee, not in the mood for much else. You had stayed awake for a few hours with Bucky; when you couldn’t coax him back to sleep, you stayed awake playing card games with Parks and Recreation in the background. After calming him down, you found out that he had woken up from a nightmare (which you noticed were becoming more and more infrequent) and had failed to calm himself down, instead falling into a panic attack which Nat had helped him get out of. You had taken it upon yourself to keep him grounded in reality - where he was, who he was with … simple things to look forward to or be happy about.
Being around Bucky scared you. Because it was difficult, you were realising, to be friends with someone you wanted more from. You had thought you would be able to handle it if you admitted to yourself what you felt for him, that maybe coming clean to someone (even if that someone was you) would push some weight off your shoulders and allow you to move on. Only, it didn’t, and it was painful that you and Bucky had strict borders around your platonic relationship.
You got up and went to the bathroom to splash some water on your face.
Maybe Steve was right. Maybe your own insecurities and stubborness were what was holding you back.
Or maybe he was wrong and all Bucky needed was someone to hold his hand until he could walk on his own. Sure, the post-traumatic stress disorder would probably never completely go away but maybe Bucky was someone who was trying to learn to live with it on his own.
You turned to leave and as soon as you cracked the door open by a fraction, you spotted a man approaching the counter. He had dark brown eyes and a heavy jaw with a scar running from its corner down the column of his muscled neck. His jacket was black, hiding his bulky, well-muscled arms.
He put his hand on the back of your seat, leaned forward and, instead of ordering, gestured for the barista to come closer and muttered something unintelligible in his ear. The shop started to darken as the barista went to pull the blinds down and suddenly, the only light came from the reflection of sunlight on the silver coffee machines.
Your heart was beating erratically as you used all your willpower to stay still. Who were these men?
‘… cолдат был в течение почти двух месяцев.’
You narrowed your eyes. Солдат … you knew that word … Bucky mumbled it a lot in his sleep.
Солдат … Soldat. Soldier.
Bucky pushed the door to the lab open, disappointed when he realised that Bruce was here alone.
‘Is [Y/N] around?’
Bruce looked up from his blueprints, smirking slightly. ‘Out for the day.’
‘Oh,’ Bucky said trying to sound off-handed. ‘Is she …’
‘She’s fine,’ Bruce promised. ‘Just wanted to be on her own.’
Bucky nodded. He thought that you would tell him. But you weren’t together, you didn’t need to tell him if you were going anywhere …
‘You’re not as careful as you think you’re being.’
Bucky slipped out from his daze. ‘What?’ he blinked.
‘I don’t wanna pry but …’
Bucky blinked and he didn’t know what compelled him to do so but he said, ‘No … no, it’s okay.’
Bruce sighed and took his glasses off, fiddling with their arms. ‘If you’re trying to keep things platonic, it’s not working. You’re spending too much time with her, you’re trusting her with too much.’
Bucky narrowed his eyes. ‘You’re saying that like it’s a bad thing.’
‘Oh, it’s not,’ Bruce said skeptically. ‘It’s not. It is, however, if you want to keep a distance.’
Bucky frowned. ‘I don’t want that,’ he said. ‘And it doesn’t matter, it’s not like she … nothing’s going to happen anyway.’
‘You really believe that?’
Bucky shrugged like it was obvious. ‘She shouldn’t. I’ve got a lot of baggage. She doesn’t need to be dealing with that.’
‘She already is by being close to you,’ Bruce entreated. ‘And it’s not a bad thing.’
Bucky picked up a ballpoint from the lab bench and twirled it between his fingers. ‘I’m a time bomb,’ he murmured. ‘They declared me safe in Wakanda but …’
‘You think there are people who can still control you,’ Bruce supplemented.
Bucky, was your first thought. What if they knew he was here, alive, and conscious …
The man and the barista had were sitting at the table next to the door, conversing in hushed voices. It was a message - you couldn’t leave. The silence of the room should have given you the chance to eavesdrop but with the language barrier, you wouldn’t be able to decipher much.
You leaned against the door, sweat gathering on the nape of your neck. Two men conversing in Russian and mentioning a soldier? You didn’t want to make any false assumptions but you reached for your phone, put it on silent mode to be safe, and then hit the voice recording app. You weren’t an expert in Russian but Natasha could translate. You couldn’t take this straight to Bucky, not without knowing what the men were saying first.
‘… взять его обратно.’
обратно - back. You remembered it clearly, Bucky muttering in Russian during one of his panic attacks: They’ll take me back.
It was silent for a moment, the barista’s foot still tapping on the hardwood floor. If these men where who you thought they could be, there still was a chance they didn’t know you. Your heart pounded harshly in your chest … perhaps, if you acted casual enough, you could slip away with them leaving you alone.
Nonchalantly, you opened the bathroom door and walked to the exit.
You were snapped out of your thoughts when you felt your a hand grip your shoulder; your breath caught in your throat as you were tugged backwards, the man’s hand wrapping around your neck and dragging you against the window. His fingers stretched to your jaw, locking you in place. His body encasing yours, each knee resting against your hands rendering your upper body immobile.
‘If only you had stayed hidden.’ His Russian accent was distinct, curling around the English words with regalness. He reached into your jacket and drew your phone out from your pocket.
Your eyebrows knitted as you glared at him, confusion almost prominent in your eyes.
‘Get - your hands - off me,’ you hissed through gritted teeth.
The man smirked. ‘Stark’s resolve has rubbed off on you.’
You glowered at him suspiciously. What did he want with Tony?
‘Stark turns into a bitch when it comes to you, so send him a message for me, will you?’ the man whispered. You groaned when he pushed your head back hard against the window, smacking it loudly and sending shockwaves through your skull. He dropped your phone and kicked it to the other side of the cafe and drew a wicked five inch serrated blade.
‘If I was in your position, I’d have the same fear,’ Bruce continued, tucking his glasses into the pocket of his shirt. ‘It’s rational to be afraid of something.’
‘What are you afraid of?’
Bruce looked at him like the answer was obvious but his voice held the same calm tone it usually did. ‘Of hurting people. When I … turn into the other guy, I lose a lot of control over myself. More times than I want to admit, I’ve had none. I’ve hurt a lot of people and I don’t always remember until I see the wreckage or someone tells me.’
Bucky softened as he listened to Bruce’s story. He didn’t know much about Doctor Banner, just that he treasured seclusion but was able to put up with Tony’s sometimes present erratic behaviour. He knew that everyone in the tower had done some damage, had hurt innocent people but Bruce, he had decided, was someone who understood what it was like to be him without actually being through the same experience.
‘When those trigger words were used… I’d surrender all control to the people who spoke them. They would make me do things that I wouldn’t always remember because they’d wipe my memory when I started to get any indication as to who I was.’
Bruce nodded. He knew all of this already but he didn’t act like he did. ‘People have manipulated my … fragility, triggered me into going rogue.’
It didn’t feel like competition. Bucky actually felt good talking about it with someone who had never had the same experiences but still ended up with a somewhat similarity to his state of mind.
‘The world loves us,’ Bucky said sardonically, smiling darkly.
Bruce smiled wryly. ‘It’s almost too difficult to tell which is worse, huh?’
‘Why do you stay?’ Bucky asked. ‘This place is … the opposite of a stress reliever. Why do you put yourself through that?’
Bruce raised an eyebrow, chuckling sardonically. ‘Myself? Not many people are concerned with how I’m feeling while I’m on a rampage.’
‘I know what that’s like,’ Bucky muttered.
‘I can handle crowds,’ said Bruce, ‘and stress in general. It’s why I was in Calcutta, why I don’t turn green everyday, otherwise the tower would be in ruins.’ His tone was bitter for a moment, like he didn’t mind letting go around Bucky. ‘No, people are fine. It’s authority, hierarchy … This makes me sound extremely anti-establishment, but the argument at it’s core is that … people in charge try to control me because they only see me as, in your words, a time bomb. They think I need to be controlled, locked away, and tagged if I’m to be around civilians.’
‘You don’t feel that here,’ Bucky guessed.
‘That’s why I stick around.’
Bruce shrugged again. ‘Why do you?’
Kissing him was like coming home, I mean I’ve kissed people before but with him it felt Devine. Like, the feeling I got when he and I kissed - oh my - like our kiss was the ultimate kissing experience - like it was how a kiss was supposed to feel like. I had heard he was a good kisser but this wasn’t it. It just was. So. Incredible. The chemistry between our lips, it created wonders. We made it together - this remarkable feeling.
Kissing him was like drinking water after a long time without and I drank him- oh I drank him, I drank his lips, I drank his tongue - we drank each other - like we hadn’t seen water for years and years.
We couldn’t stop. But we had to. A flower needs water to live but it needs oxygen too. So, we parted. Very reluctantly. Very slow. But we knew, it wasn’t forever.
My lips tingled long after - that very first time - I kissed him.
You see her in the night sky
She’s the moon that leaves you starry eyed.
You feel her in the air
She’s the wind blowing in your hair.
You see her in the cloud
She’s the one covering the crowd.
You feel her in the ocean
She’s the wave that puts you in motion.
You see her in the city lights
She’s each and every one that turns on at night.
You feel her in the rain
She’s the drops on your body that have nowhere to drain.
You see her in the trees of the forest
She’s the roots of your chorus.
You feel her in the fog that’s setting
She’s the mist and the chill you’re getting.
You see her in mountains as you drive on by
She’s the peak of your existence, that one point that is so high.
You feel her on your bed
She’s the blanket with the perfect count of thread.
You see her down the road
She’s every woman, feels like time has slowed.
You feel her in your arms
She’s the goosebumps on your forearms.
You see her in the coffee in your cup
She’s the energy that can wind you up.
You feel her in your body
She’s the blood and soul that she embodies.
You see her in your dreams
She’s your past and your made-up present that makes you scream.
You feel her in your heart
She’s the future that you wish would start.