Yes, this is what my natural hair looks like! I decided to take out the braids for now and keep it like this for a while. Thank God for the headwraps though, they really save my life when I have a bad hair day and my curls just won’t cooperate with me!
I grew up on the roads. I feel for the intangible & I’m not all sure how that is. Bit-up lip. How I wish my curls were a tad bit more cooperative. Mocha skin. Home isn’t these four walls nor the cupboard where I keep my favorite mug; I might be in this world, but I’m not of if.
I like minding my own business on the subway. Just leaning on one of poles and reading or texting someone. Being at peace with myself and not bothering anyone was what I did best. Other people weren’t so lucky as to have my mindset, just like this gentleman who wouldn’t stop staring at me from across the crowded subway car. The subway was absolutely packed and I was stuffed into a corner with Mr. Creepy and another young guy, who had to be my age, who was actually minding his own business. I went back to reading my book after I caught Mr. Creepy staring at me for seemed to be the seventh time. Whatever, I was used to people staring.
“Hey there, baby.” I looked up from my page, extremely irritated because Hazel was giving Augustus’s pre post-mortem eulogy and it was just beautiful and I was near tears. Mr. Creepy was standing in front of me, smiling with a sickly sweet look on his face. He was ugly, like a snake with greasy hair and no access to Proactiv. “What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a dirty town like this?”
“Minding my own fucking business, that’s what.”
Mr. Creepy pouted, his greasy forehead crinkling up at my blunt response. “Oh babe, you don’t have to be like that. I know you felt it too, the chemistry between our glances.”
My mouth actually fell open at the shamelessness of his remark. This guy really thought he was charming, didn’t he? Mr. Creepy stepped towards me and I stepped back as fast as I could, feeling the back of the subway car hit my shoulders. I pulled my bag even more over my shoulders and look around. Fuck, I was trapped. This was very bad. There must’ve been a look of fear on my face because the guy stepped forwards and smirked, revealing rotten teeth and reeking breath. “I know you want me.”
“Sir, I think that you’re over stepping your boundar-”
“Excuse me, ma'am, but is this guy bothering you? Because if he is, I’m going to kick his ass, pardon my French.” The young guy who was minding his own business stepped up from out of his corner and was looking at Mr. Creepy like he could actually kick his ass. He wasn’t tall compared to the other guy, but he was a good bit taller than me because I’m tiny.
My savior was very handsome, nice clear jawline and short cropped brown hair. His eyes were unmistakably kind, though I couldn’t quite tell what color they were. He was obviously muscular under his dark navy blue long sleeve t-shirt, and so noticed that he had a protective hand outstretched in front of me. Man, he had to have had some sort of defense training with a stance like that. I did a double take at his hand. It was metal. Whoa.
Mr. Creepy laughed at Mr. Nice Guy. “What are you going to do, shorty?”
“Listen, I’ve shot prime ministers faster than you can blink. I’d back up if I were you.”
My eyes got wide as I processed what Mr. Nice Guy said. What was he? Some international master assassin amputee? Anyway, Mr. Creepy obviously was freaked out the statement and he did back away, but not without saying something stupid.
“You’re fucked up, man.”
“And so are you.”
Mr. Nice Guy turned to me. “Sorry about him. That shouldn’t happen,” He stuck out his nonmetal hand. “I’m Bucky Barnes.” I took his hand. He had a firm grip.
“I’m Tera King. Hi.”
“Hi there, Tera. May I ask where your stop is? I don’t want Weird Ass over there following you.”
I smiled at Bucky’s consideration. “I have a four o'clock meeting at the Avengers Tower so I’m getting off in three stops.”
“Are you Tony Stark’s four o'clock?” Bucky asked he question with a lot of excitement, shuffling towards me a bit, his eyes lighting up. Wait? He knew my appointment? I came to a realization.
“You’re the guy Tony wanted me to meet! Oh my gosh, hi!” I squeaked, forgetting about Mr. Creepy and instinctively going for a hug, and thank god Bucky was nice enough to let me give him one. I pulled back and tucked a straying black curl behind my ear. Bucky shifted on his feet, staring at his shoes.
“Um… Tony never actually told me what was going on, he said that there was quote-on-quote ‘absolutely amazing young woman’ that I had to meet today.” I felt so flattered by Tony’s words. “So, why are we heading to the Tower?”
I tapped the top of my thigh, my nail making a hollow ting when in hit the metal underneath my jeans. “I’m getting this thing replaced.” That’s when Bucky seemed to notice that I was missing a foot, a whole leg actually. Where my right leg should have been, I had a series of metal parts hooked together to form the best makeshift leg possible. It was soon going to be replaced by the work of Tony Stark.
“That explains why Tony wanted us to meet.” Bucky said, folding his arms and leaning against the side of the swaying subway car.
Bucky tapped his left shoulder and I heard a slight ring. “I got this thing replaced.”
The subway car lurched to a stop as people got off. I noticed Mr. Creepy must’ve left while Bucky and I were talking. We made small talk as we rode further. I found out Bucky was employed with the Avengers, and that he was best friends with Captain America.
The sub came to our stop, then we exited onto the busy New York streets. I saw the Avengers Tower glittering in the bright daylight. It seemed to be only a short distance away from the subway station and so we headed off in that direction. Once we arrived, we were immediately ushered upstairs.
Tony was waiting for us as the elevator doors opened.
“Tera, Mr. Barnes, I see you two have already met. Good.”
I stepped tentatively out onto the floor of Tony’s workspace where I’d only been a few times before. I looked around at the clutter on the tables and wondered how Tony could keep track of all this. As if he read my mind, Tony snapped his fingers and the messy papers disappeared off the tables. Of course they were holographic. Why didn’t you think of that, Tera?
“Tera, please change so when Bruce gets here we can start.”
“Yes sir.” I headed into the bathroom down the hall to slip off my jeans (what the hell they could bare to see me in my underwear) and take my spaghetti strap off from under my hoodie, leaving me with a sports bra. I stuffed my clothes into my bag and attempted to clear what I could of my Afro from my face, though my brown blonde curls refused to cooperate with me.
Eventually, I wandered back to the workspace, which has been turned into a operation room a matter of minutes. Tony, and Bucky, now joined by Bruce Banner, were looking at a projection of my files on a screen.
“But what happened?” I heard Bucky asked as I neared the guys.
“IED explosion, Iraq 2008. That was her last tour with the Army.” Banner read directly from the file. I almost shivered with the memory.
“What’s her rank?”
“Sergeant, just like you. She was also an All-American track star.” Bucky was a sergeant? He didn’t tell me that. I mean, it never came up but I was wearing an Army hoodie on the subway. I’d have to find out more about Bucky. He seemed like such a nice person, and it’d be cool to get to know him better.
I cleared my throat and the guys whipped around. Bucky dropped the pen he was holding in his metal hand and looked me up and down, his eyes not missing a single inch of visible skin. All of the sudden I was very self conscious about the mere bra and underwear I had on. Maybe it was the burn marks and scars crisscrossing my skin that Bucky was staring at.
“Gentlemen, are we ready to start?”
The hard part was trying to get my leg off without any help but also without falling over. I tried several times with no avail, and Tony eventually got aggravated with me wasting time. “Banner, hold her leg down and Buck, help her get out of it.”
Bruce leaned down and held the bottom nob of my prosthetic leg while Bucky wrapped a strong arm around my waist to help me stay balanced. I grabbed his free hand and he held it to his chest so I wouldn’t go stumbling forward. I wriggled a bit and my prosthetic fell to the floor. My body moved down with the sensation of being free and Bucky pulled me to him to keep me upright. “Easy, easy there, Tera.”
Bucky helped me hobble over to the operation table where Tony started sticking shit in my veins and examining the sliver that remained of my leg.
“Why’d you want us to meet?”
“You’re the only two people I know with your certain… metallic enhancements.” Tony said. I laughed at his response. I wasn’t sure 'enhancements’ was the term to be using though.
I felt a huge sting in my leg as Banner injected something into the stump. “Fuck, what was that?”
“Neurotransmitters. They’re going to connect with your leg and your brain so it can work just like the other one.”
I felt myself getting excited for this experience. I was going to be able to run and walk without a limp and I could bend my knees at the same time.
Tony pressed some sort of sensor to my temple, and a feeling of cool washed over me as I laid back, and passed the fuck out.
When I came to, Bucky was holding my hand. I let him hold it for a while. He was rubbing his thumb back a forth, leaving a warm path on the back of my hand. It seemed like just a natural gesture. I stirred and he let it go. “You were only out for fifteen minutes.”
“Nice,” I looked around the empty workshop. “Where’s Tony and Bruce?” My miracle workers were no where to be seen.
“They said they’d be back in an hour.” Tony said to tell you to wiggle your toes.“
Toes. It was funny to think that now I had ten of them. I looked down at my toes, my five epidermis covered ones, and then my five steel-titanium ones. I studied my new leg. It looked like someone had taken my left leg, cloned it into a right one, and painted over it with a reflective material. My new leg had no gaps in it, and I could feel even weight on both sides of my body for the first time in a very long time.
I wiggled my toes. The metal ones moved and I felt it.
I felt my all toes move for the first time in eight years. Bursting into tears isn’t the normal reaction for wiggling your toes, but I felt like the happiest person in the world. I could be again. I could walk and run and do normal people things with my body now. It was a dream come true.
Bucky grabbed my hand again. "Even though I met you about two hours ago, I am so happy for you, Tera.”
“Thank you.” I managed to choke out between sobs. I was grateful for the support. Bucky just smiled at me. We sat like this for several minutes, hands clasped together and me in tears.
Eventually, I got up and started testing my new leg. I did some yoga, a few exercises, a couple of ballet steps, and some running. My new leg kept up with the other one as if it was always there, sometimes moving in flexible ways that my real leg could not. Bucky just sat back and watched with a transfixed grin on his face.
Tony and Bruce came back and I burst into tears again with thanks and hugs for the amazing men who had helped me feel normal again.
Bucky held the door open for me as I exited the Tower about an half an hour after we did some more tests on my leg. “Are you hungry?”
“Good. There’s a deli in Brooklyn with some killer sandwiches.”
“Oh, so you’re a Brooklyn boy?”
Bucky shook his head. “Yes, that and a lot of other things. I’ll tell you about it on the way there. Come on.” He took my hand, leading me out into the busy crowds of New York.
This is just some of my writing. If you want to suggest something I might write it. I’m in a lot of other fandoms (5sos, 1d, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, teen wolf, divergent, the hunger games, the maze runner, etc.) besides the Avengers so you can suggest things from other fandoms too.