Fatal Surprise (3)
Word Count: 1′772
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x Reader / First Person POV
Summary: AU that could have taken place in Civil War. The crumbling factory became you/her second home, and when someone finds their way in uninvited, your/her instincts kicked in and it proved to be the start of something bigger than it seemed.
Peek: “He was a tinted crystal.”
A/N: I wrote this in one sitting, again, so sorry if it’s not up to your standards. I don’t know if anyone actually remembers this story, as I haven’t updated it in so long. Well, this is it anyway, I feel like this is the only appropriate ending that could go with it, and honestly if I try to stretch it on further, it’ll just turn out crappy. What I might do is write a part two of ‘Home Alone’, which is an idea I had awhile ago. I hope you all like it, and this, dearest reader! I loved this short tale, and I hope you did to.
My restlessness didn’t hesitate in taking a toll on me and running on three cups of coffee a day became a normality, accelerating my once smooth movements into erratic spasms and robotic motions. I was never one to be dependent to such a trivial thing as ‘coffee’, but now that I was in the shoes of the exhausted men and women across the globe, the boost of energy was the only thing keeping my eyes open everyday at work.
It hasn’t been too long since James went back under, but long enough for my heart to clench every time I visited the factory. Just over six months ago I stood with him in a country I never heard of, and flew back the same night with a sympathetic Sam and a comforting Steve by my side.
“Are you home?”
“Steve? I’m on my way back to the apartment.”
I parked the car just as the words left my mouth, and snatched the speaking phone from the passenger’s seat. Locking the vehicle I made my way into the building, greeting the doorman with a short wave.
“Good, we’re already up here.”
As I tiptoed my way up the stairs, I chucked at their antics. There was no need to ask who was meant by ‘we’, and as I opened the door and met the two men squeezed into my small couch my suspicions were confirmed. My eyes took in their battered state and I rushed in, closing the door behind my back.
“That bad?” I tried to keep my voice calm and devoid of any worry, bordering casual. If there was one thing I learned from befriending individuals in the medical field, was to never show your own emotions when looking at one’s injuries. You’ll immediately transfer your own aggravation into them.
“The friend isn’t very forgiving.” Steve’s voice was low and light, perhaps lighting up the gloomy mood Bucky obviously sported and radiated. The pain in it, though, was unmistakeable. Their own clothes were stained with dirt and mud, and had wet patches here and there, never forgetting the dried blood scattered across their bodies. I flickered my gaze to James, scanning him quickly. A small gasp left my lips and I approached him quickly, only noticing the missing metal arm, feeling idiotic for not seeing it sooner. Cables came out of whatever was left, which was little over his shoulder.
“Does it hurt?” I asked him, hoping to meet his eyes. He smiled softly, the tiniest tilt, and murmured a ‘no’. I looked at Steve questioningly, and back at him. “How are we going to fix your arm?”
“We’re not going to.” James’ voice was as determined as it had been as he promised to come find me. A promise he accomplished, leaving no doubt that he is a man to complete any future ones.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m going back under.” When I showed no signs of understanding, he opened his mouth to finish but Steve bet him to it.
“He wants to be put go back into cryo again.”
“Again?” Steve’s disapproval was obvious, but so was his sorrow and regret. My confusion never faltered.
“So you’re… leaving? For how long?” My questions were eager and somewhat agitated, as the pieces fell into place the panic started setting in. He must have noticed.
“How about I tell you everything you want to know on the plane?” When he stood and pulled me up with him, I couldn’t do much more than nod and follow them out. The way to the jet was long forgotten as were most moments in between the hello and the goodbye.
The warmth of his body sat beside me was present throughout the entire trip, his arm wrapped around my shoulders as I slept, or he did. My hand gripped his as Steve and Sam chatted quietly a few meters away, politely distancing themselves from James and I. The sudden realisation of the level of intimacy we were at didn’t shock me as much as I would have thought it would.
It wasn’t like a crash, awaking me in a cold sweat. Nor was a tremor halting my thoughts. It was a graduate whisper that came with the insane serenity of being so close to him. The sky was pitch black and the clouds faint akin to the softest of strokes a painter would caress on a dark canvas with a one-shade lighter grey. His eyelashes brushed his cheekbones and his expression was calm, perhaps relaxed. Lost in a dreamless infinity, where no nightmares haunted him, and no fantasies pleased his subconscious. Just a blanket of silence and tranquillity as his arm pulled me close and his other was lost. Where my arm had fallen and instead my hand grasped his shirt. It wasn’t a lustful desire or an overwhelming romantic sensation that I felt when I acknowledged our sudden proximity that came along our unanticipated acquaintance, but an inviting breeze that spelled out all sorts of home and understanding. It wasn’t the thrill of being needed, as well as wanted, but the placement of an unforeseen armour and a safety given and reciprocated.
The moment that could fill out a hundred pages, lasted no more than mere seconds, and I sighed in content or perhaps in a foreshadowing woe that I could already feel seeping into me. I slept for the rest of the night, until I was awoken by his lips on my temple, and a soft whisper that made the uncertain goodbye all too wretched.
T’Challa was a lovely man, but I couldn’t seem to pay attention to the king’s words as the ‘see you later’ or more appropriately ‘whenever’ approached me with every second. James was changing into other clothes as I stood with the men, awaiting his return.
“I can’t trust my own mind.”
The events went past blurry and quick, but it all slowed when I was left in the laboratory with him. He smiled apologetically.
“Can’t we go back? You can stay with me. I’ll help you.” My pleads was rapid and came out in a harsh breath, the control I had over myself dissipating as the sorrow was all too consuming. He was wearing all white, and it looked perfect, in a twisted irony that one’s cruel mind would decipher. The innocence the man carried perfectly portrayed in his pristine attire, yet contrasting the sins he had been forced to commit, and the thought of so pulled my lips upwards in a sad smile.
“It’s safer like this, besides whatever I still have in here, needs to come out.” I hated that he was logical and made sense. That he had reason behind his choices, and that I could never be sure of whether he’d still be doing okay, being so far away. “I’ll come find you, I promise.”
“I’ll be waiting.” My voice was soft and almost inaudible, as I looped my arms around his waist and pressed my cheek to his chest, listening to the steady heartbeat underneath. His arm encased me with a strong grip, and we stood still, lost in our own minds for a few minutes. I looked up and met his blue stare, my own glassy.
“Thank you for helping me.” I pressed my lips to his in a tentative kiss, unmoving for a split second before he urged himself forward and applied more pressure. He demanded entrance and I parted my mouth, giving in eagerly. His taste was intoxicating, and we pulled away too quickly, knowing that it was either then or never.
His eyes roamed my features, a frown weighing down his pink kissers. “Please, don’t cry.”
“I won’t.” I swallowed back the tears, and forced a beam onto my face.
Steve came back in not too long after, and it was when James was strapped into the cryogenic machine that I felt my anchor shift with every second and my ship dangerously slanting from one side to another. We stood in silence and he shot me a fleeting smile, to which I returned. His eyes were trained on mine, up until they closed and didn’t open again, the blasts of cold freezing his warm body and his peaceful face.
I sat by the clamping vice, where he once had been, wearing a red Henley Steve said he wanted me to keep for the time being. The melancholy that settled deep within me haunted my mood for long hours of most days, and the strong, urgent mourning I felt was nothing I had expected to fall under. Perhaps sadness, but the sudden loss – or rather lack - of a man I knew for no longer than a week had affected me greatly, and certainly unexpectedly.
I hadn’t allowed myself to cry up until today, and I had hoped to keep the promise a while longer. To preserve the beam he believed in just a little more, but as I stepped into the factory I fondly adored, and pointedly avoided, and found myself staring into the empty room it all began in, the images conjured themselves up and his oceanic eyes were staring at me from opposite me, a charming smirk plastered onto his lips. The scruff unkempt, and ever so inviting. I smiled back at his ghost, and was too slow at stopping the tear that rolled past my lashes.
Sobs bubbled up my throat and I approached him in hope, in a delusionary state, and the closer I got the clearer he became. He was a tinted crystal and gradually a transparency I was well familiarised with. I slumped down on the wooden box, and shook as muffled cries racked through my body.
“I hope I don’t forget you, doll.”
His words were vivid in my mind, and even in my sleepy state I registered them with a spreading faint fervour. It was in the quietest places that I could hear him speak, his rough voice laced with the wind akin to a lingering sweetness in one’s lips or a poisonous bitterness in one’s drink.
Amidst my own chaos, I barely heard the ringing mobile phone in my bag. Reaching to it, I checked the caller before picking up.
“Steve.” My voice was hoarse, raw.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m doing just fine.” The lie flew past my teeth, and even one’s deaf ears could perceive the thinly hidden ache bleeding out of my words.
“I’m picking you up.” I didn’t protest, and allowed a short lived silence to fall in between the call, until shock overcame any other emotion I was feeling as he voiced himself once again. “He’s awake.”