i swear it is ro

Search and Rescue VII

Happy New Year, everybody! Here’s hoping 2016 is the best year yet! This chapter is kind of long, but I hope you like it. There’ll be an appearance of a familiar face (that’s all I’m going to say :)

Enjoy!

Warnings: Like, two swears.

Part I  Part II  Part III  Part IV  Part V  Part VI   

“I’m back, Ro,” you called, shutting the hotel room door behind you with one foot. Your arms were laden with “groceries” (read: junk food and some fresh fruit) for the next few days. The room was tiny - just two beds, a table, a little bathroom off to the side and a TV. The carpet was pale beige, offset by white walls and outdated floral bedspreads. It smelled of dust and silk flowers.

Rose was sitting cross-legged on one of the two small beds, arms over her chest and face screwed into an expression that was totally, completely grumpy.

“I hope you brought the coffee beans,” she said sourly, staring at the window. You set the food on the table between the beds and grinned. Normally, Rose’s moods drove you up the wall, but it was so good just being around her again that you didn’t really mind. 

“I did,” you said after swallowing a sip of coffee. “See anything?”

Rose’s fuzzy-sock feet made no sound on the carpet as she got up to look through the bags for a snack. She huffed. “No. I didn’t. And I can’t smell anything, either.”

Ah. That’s what was making her mad - sensory deprivation. You clucked your tongue sympathetically and opened a bag of chips - even though the bag said ‘crisps.’ You craned your neck to look out the window.

London was a grey city - pale grey sky, and a mosaic of grey buildings. It was pretty, in a way, but you needed familiarity right now. Just paying for the food had made your hands shake, and you couldn’t help suspecting that the kind blue eyes of the old cashier hid sinister plans. It was a relief to be behind a door you’d locked yourself.

The building across the street was a pub with a bright, red-painted front sign, built of clean red brick on the top half. There was a jagged line halfway down, and below that was old grey stone, blackened and pitted with tiny bullet holes. Rose said there was a faint trace of Steve’s mind scent coming from there - residual, she’d called it - and if he’d been there once, he might come back. It was a thin lead, but the only one you had for now.

You crunched a handful of chips and settled on the chair in front of the window; Rose had vacated it before you came in. Your mind settled in a haze as you watched the street below, and your eyelids felt heavy. Cars streamed along the streets, painted with white lines rather than yellow, and people bundled in coats bustled along the sidewalks. You stifled a yawn. You should feel restless, you knew that. Should be running around with frantic energy, trying your hardest to find him - doing something, at least. But at the moment, you were tired and still a little scared. You’d had your fill of adrenaline back at the Hydra dungeon. Not that you were going to stop looking - you were too closely connected to Steve for that - but a moment of rest was a treasured thing, and you were going to savor it. Behind you, Rose was trying to balance an apple on her freckled nose, and growling under her breath when it fell off. You took in a deep, soothing breath and tugged at a lock of hair. Yes, you were going to savor the quiet.

Down on the street, something caught your eye - a bright flash, like a spotlight shone onto metal. You zeroed in on it, and suddenly the quiet was gone. Your heart thumped loud in your ears. 

A man down in front of the bar was just pulling on a too-big black jacket, lifting one gloved hand to pull up the hood. His movements were hunched, flinching, furtive. And just for a second, the sleeves of his jacket had pulled away from his wrists - and revealed the glitter of jointed steel.

It was him. The world pulsed around you, and the threads in your chest pulled toward him.

“Rose,” you hissed. “Get up. That’s him. That’s him! Quick, look!”

Rose fell off the bed in her haste to get to the window, cursing as she scrambled to stand beside you. She searched for a second, brown eyes narrowed behind her glasses. Then she went still as her gaze locked on the man. She inhaled sharply. “Got it,” she said softly, and whistled. “Damn, he smells…I don’t know. Chaotic, I guess.”

Steve’s shoulders rose and fell with heavy breathing, and he hugged his arms around himself. His head dipped down to his chest, and your heart ached. He was so close. So close you could almost feel his thoughts. As you watched, he froze - every movement stopped, and his shoulders relaxed as he straightened.

He turned, lifted his head, and looked right at you. Across the space between you, you felt the snap of connection. Your vision darkened around the edges, and a musical ringing hum sounded in your ears. Tattered shreds of thoughts not your own floated through your mind.

Y/N. Safe…not safe? Not safe! Have to run. Why is she here? Steve…can’t let them find me. I WON’T. There was something almost like a growl, a bright fierceness that echoed in your own heart. They won’t find me. 

There was a honking sound down the street. A delivery van hid him from view for just a second; when it passed, he was gone. The hum faded, and your eyes cleared. You could breathe again, and you sucked in a gasp. 

Rose’s eyes were huge. She licked her lips nervously and glanced at your hands. Both were lit up with clear light, brighter than ever before.

“Y/N…” Rose said. “That was…”

You braced yourself for the normal reaction. Fear, even loathing, was what usually happened when you revealed your powers. You’d never expected it from Rose, but you couldn’t really blame her.

“That,” she said again, “was totally awesome. Can you do it again?”

You exhaled slowly. Thank god. “I…I might?” You swallowed and clenched your sweating hands. “I don’t know. That’s never happened before. I could hear -”

“His thoughts,” she finished eagerly. “I know. I smelled it - you have very different mind-scents. His is kinda cold, like metal and rock, and you’re sort of - floral? Maybe cinnamon? But for a second there they were…blended. I don’t know, but that was amazing. We have to find this guy!”

As she rushed around packing your things, a sudden realization came to your mind. “Oh, Rosie?”

She stopped. “Yeah?”

“I don’t think we should call him Steve anymore.”

“We’re gonna get caught,” you muttered, fiddling with the sleeves of your winter coat. Rose was standing a bit in front of you at the top of the rocky hillside, overlooking a very ‘keep out’ - looking building. Mental Health facility? Military place? You didn’t know, but the gnawing dread in the pit of your stomach told you it might be Hydra. It appeared deserted, but that didn’t mean it was.

“I never get caught,” Rose said, without opening her eyes. Her head moved from side to side like a bloodhound, and her closed eyelids flickered. She claimed if she closed her eyes she could see ‘traces’ of mind-scent. “And he’s close. Really close.”

“I know. Why is he coming here?” You hugged your arms around yourself, rubbing at your sternum. It ached nearly always now - a bright pain, sometimes low and sullen, sometimes fierce and flashing. Sometimes, you’d wake in the night from a dream of the wounded man to find both arms completely lit up. The last time, Rose had thrown a pillow at your head. 

“I wish you’d wear something less noticeable,” you grumbled. She’d insisted on wearing the coral wool peacoat, the same one she’d been wearing the day you came back. “They’re going to see you.”

“Let ‘em.” Her voice was very nonchalant for someone who’d never been kidnapped. “You can throw their asses down the mountain with that Superman mojo you got going on.”

You snorted. “Superman’s not real. And it’s called strength.” Anxiously, you scanned the wooded crest of the hill around you. Something didn’t smell right. The snow and wet bark and wind were there, yes, and Rose’s scent as well. But there was a shiver of otherness there too - not something that made you afraid, though. 

The ever-present pain in your chest rocketed to bright life, choking off your air. “He’s here,” you hissed. “He’s…scared. I don’t know. Maybe hurt?”

Even as you spoke a hooded figure stepped from the woods in front of the facility. He was so small, you could hardly see him, but you knew. It was him.

Your heart came into your throat. “Let’s go,” you choked out, and started down the hill. But before you got even two steps, something happened.

There was a bloodcurdling yell and a streak of dark blue that rushed past you with a metallic wind. When your vision cleared, Rose was on the ground, pinned by a very angry man with spiky blond hair.

“Don’t touch him,” he growled. His voice was deep and rich. “Leave Bucky alone!”

“Who the hell is Bucky?” Rose croaked, then blinked. “You’re kinda pretty.”

Alrighty. That’s enough of that. You drew back your arm and slammed a fist into the side of his head. 

But it didn’t bowl him over, or knock him off of your sister. Instead, he adjusted his jaw, turned a blue-eyed glare toward you. “Ow,” he complained.

“Alright, who the hell are you?” you snapped, fists still clenched. “Get off my sister, you creepy fuck.”

The man looked down at Rose as if noticing her for the first time. She gave a little wave with one white-gloved hand, and a faint flush stained the man’s cheekbones. He stood up abruptly and brushed himself off. 

“Who are you?” he asked. “You don’t look like Hyrda - but they don’t exactly come with warning labels.” He appeared to have decided you weren’t a threat, but there was a wariness in his posture and across his eyes still, and he kept his hands close to the holsters at his belt. 

“I -” you started. “I’m Y/N. That’s Rose. We’re looking for…someone. He’s in danger.”

“No shit,” the man said, without venom. “From you, right?”

You growled. Before you could speak, though, Rose stepped right up to him and put a hand on his arm like she wasn’t afraid at all.

“She got kidnapped by Hydra like a year ago and they made her use her superpowers to heal this guy with a metal arm. She’s worried about him, so we’re trying to find him.”

He raised one eyebrow like he found that very hard to believe, but considered both of you. When his eyes met yours, all he said was: “That punch was terrible.”

“Thanks. Now, who are you?”

The guarded, watchful veil didn’t leave his eyes, but he held out his hand. “Steve Rogers.”