“Is it ridiculous that I’m feeling nervous as a girl on the first day of school?” I asked, smoothing my coat with one hand and squeezing Bree’s hand with the other as we waited in the tidy hallway outside the MacAlister’s door.
“You’ve no reason, lass,” Jamie assured me. I knew he wanted to put his arm around my back, but his hands were full of whisky bottles and Bree’s diaper bag. He did manage to lean in and kiss my cheek. “They’ll take to ye just fine.”
This particular get-together was long overdue. I’d been delighted to learn about Jamie’s serendipitous meeting with the Irish hurling group, and the subsequent connection with the lone Scot, Charlie MacAlister. Though Jamie had gone several times since to join the game or else get a drink one-on-one with Charlie (apparently a chap after Jamie’s own heart in many ways), the several times we had tried to schedule a family dinner since Halloween, the fates had always seen fit to intervene, with holidays, birthdays, morning sickness, et cetera, et cetera.
Fitting, though, that at long last, we should be spending this thoroughly Scottish holiday with a thoroughly Scottish (well, Gaelic, collectively) family.
The door opened with a bang and a roar of “A GOOD NEW YEAR TO YE!!”
Even in the first five seconds of our acquaintance, Charlie MacAlister gave me so strong a recollection of a MacKenzie clansman, I felt like I’d been jolted back into Castle Leoch itself. Jocular, irreverent, fiercely protective and loyal to a fault, those men had alternately vexed and delighted and protected and astounded me with their vigor and kindness and overall enthusiasm for living, in all its forms.
Perhaps that’s why it didn’t perturb me in the slightest that Jamie’s friend’s choice greeting was to lift me clear off my feet in a massive rib-crushing hug; and even though it was the first time I was laying eyes on the man, I couldn’t help but laugh and hug him back , brimming with warmth and affection at once. “Well, hello to you too!” I felt Jamie relax behind me: I’d given my permission, so he would not come to my rescue. I thought I could actually sense him grinning.
“I’m so glad to finally meet ye, Claire!” Charlie boomed as he set me back on the ground, taking me in. “From the way Jamie speaks of ye—” His eyes suddenly lit up and he whipped them up to Jamie with a grin. “Why, ye wicked wee dog, Fraser: ye didna say!!” He threw his head back and roared with, “Meal a naidheachd to ye both!” He straightened to give me a wink. “When are ye due, then, lass?”
“CHARLIE!!!” barked a red-haired woman behind him, his wife, Saoirse.
“What? It’s—” Charlie spluttered and made vague gestures between himself and my notably curved belly. “I’m only—”
“You’re only about making a fool of yourself, Charlie Mac. Keep your mouth shut, if you please?” She gave me an apologetic look that was nonetheless warm and kind. “Please be accepting BOTH our apologies for that great gowl over there.” After greeting Jamie, she turned and swatted her husband hard on the shoulder, her eyes blazing as she said between clenched teeth. “Have you no control over that tongue??”
“I do—and ye tend to like my control of it, lass…” and he bent her head back to kiss her thoroughly. She tried to push him away but she couldn’t resist laughing as his hands roamed and she relented and kissed him back.
God, this. THIS I’d missed—to see another couple who loved our same kind of irreverence and warmth and informality. Husbands and wives in these times—at least in post-war America—tended to err on the side of reserve in public, bordering on primness. Even Tom and Marian, as dear as they both were to to us, weren’t free with public displays of affection toward each other. Jamie and I tended to act precisely the way we wished and damn whoever should judge us for it, but it was unbelievably refreshing to not be the only ones in the room who would not be scandalized by lewd jokes.
On top of that, “Pregnancy” was considered a rather rude word, in American culture at present. Considering the massive increase in childbearing after the war, this seemed an enormously ridiculous cultural hangup (“be fruitful and multiply, but pretend the penises and vaginas don’t exist”). Those in the family way —as I now found myself—were treated with a delicate, pointed kind of embarrassment, as if to say, ‘look what she’s been doing…Heavens, what if she actually enjoyed it??’
I was used to the taboo, of course, having experienced it with Bree, and seen it around me, since; but it was an unexpected kind of relief to have it be so singled out with such joy and goodwill by these new friends. In fact, I was grinning like a prize idiot as I assured them both, “It’s quite alright, really.” I felt a rush of joy and pride at finally being able to share our news. I felt Jamie’s hand resting on my back. “You’ve spotted it right: we are expecting!”
Charlie gave a crow of triumph “I thought you’d been a little shifty these last few months about ‘family’ and things happening next year! When will the wean be arriving, then??”
“Late July,” I said, “or it might be the first of August.”
Charlie stepped forward to clap both of us on the back, at which Saoirse looked absolutely mortified. I made a point of reassuring her when she leaned in to kiss me on the cheek and offer her own comhghairdeas.
Jamie accepted the hearty congratulations, grinning like a fool himself, “Let’s keep it between us, aye? We havena told Brianna yet.” He nodded at the children, who were already playing on the living room floor. “Perhaps talk in a wee code if it should come up?”
Saoirse nodded agreement. “Wee Nolan has ears like a hare and a mouth like a magpie.” She gave a pointed roll of the eyes. “Wonder who he could possibly be getting it from…?”
It had all the same modern conveniences as our own house, the MacAlister’s little flat, but something about it—the spices, maybe?—or—no, that wasn’t it….Something about it just felt like Scotland. Like home.
If nothing else, I could see it in Jamie’s posture and manner. As for my own country of birth, I had rarely felt any great attachment to England that went beyond good tea and rolling hills. Home had been wherever I laid my head that night, and between Uncle Lamb, the war, and my experiences in the eighteenth century, I’d certainly spent more of my life amongst strangers than my own proper countrymen. But Jamie was Scotland, through and through, and even this small taste of it—Americanized and quasi-Irish as it might be—was enough to make him glow with an ease that filled my own heart in the seeing. He was happy with our life in Boston, I knew; blissful, even! To have our family together and safe was all he desired; but something about experiencing that deeper home-ness again was a restorative to his soul, and I thanked God for putting Charlie Mac in Jamie’s path. It was pure delight to see the two of them going on in rapid Gaelic, like brothers.
“They’re like two pups together, aren’t they?” Saoirse said fondly, echoing my silent thoughts as she took a seat beside me on the sofa.
“Indeed they are,” I laughed, looking at them through the dining room doorway.
Saoirse was as red-haired as Jamie, freckled and cheery-eyed. “Will you be speakin’ the Gaelidgh yourself, Claire?”
“Very little,” I attempted in that language, my accent horrendous but the words correct, I was fairly certain.
“Very well done,” she replied, laughing before switching back to English, her Irish accent broad and unashamed. “That’s about as much as I know of it, myself. My parents weren’t too keen on my marrying a Scot, but I’ve no regrets. Except maybe Charlie’s tendency to put his fool foot in his fool mouth.”
“It’s rather endearing, actually,” I assured her.
Despite herself, Saoirse grinned. “Damn me if it wasn’t one of the things that had me head-over-heels for the idiot.”
We laughed and settled deeper into the comfy couch, covered over with homey afghans. “So, Charlie tells me you and Jamie met in Scotland, originally? Did ye like it, there?”
“I did!” I paused just for a moment. “Well, to tell it true, a lot of sad things happened there…but we had some of our happiest days, as well,” I added, thinking of those days at Lallybroch before the war.
“Do you think you’ll ever go back?”
I thought about that for a long while. “To visit, certainly. When Brianna and—” I gestured to the baby, “are old enough to see and hear the stories, I think.”
“You’d never think of moving back permanently? Seems to be a dream of Charlie’s—It’d surprise me if Jamie had no similar desire.”
We had indeed talked about it, and I knew Jamie’s very conflicted thoughts on the matter. “Part of him wishes for Scotland, yes—but it’s a Scotland that’s long-gone.”
That surprised her. “How so?”
“Jamie had…a lot of hard things happen to him there. He lost his family, and so doesn’t have anyone left.”
“Not a soul?”
“No one,“ I said, feeling the ache of it. I rubbed the baby absently. “So, he misses it, the land and its people and ways, but there isn’t anyone left in Scotland to make it home for him.”
“That’s very sad,” Saoirse murmured, sparing a glance toward the men in the dining room.
“It is. But you see, it’s easier to have our life in America: to keep Scotland in his mind the way it was, rather than feel the ache of it, seeing always what’s missing.”
“Aye, I understand….At least he has his lady—and his little ones.”
We shared a smile, and I wanted to ask her more about her own family, but just then the children descended, Bree, four-year-old Nolan, and little Will, just barely walking. No impromptu migration, this: the pack of them squealed in, chased by their fathers at their heels.
“You lot are no better than the children!” I laughed.
“Aye, maybe no’,” Jamie agreed, grinning, “But at least we’re old enough to drink, and they’re not.”
“I AM!” Nolan insisted. “I’m plenty grow’d up!”
“Oh, aye, to be sure,” Charlie said with a wink. “I forgot we had a grown wee mannie in our midst.” He went to the kitchen and returned with an armful of ginger ale bottles. “A man needs a stiff drink.” He cracked open a lid and handed the glass bottle to his son, who looked terribly important at acknowledgment of his maturity.
Bree was NOT intending to be overlooked. She put on her hips and insisted, “I’M mannie, TOO!” daring Charlie to say otherwise.
Nor did he, bless him. He already had a bottle ready for her. “Here ye go, wee mannie.”
Bree had never had soda pop before, and she recoiled in surprise at first taste of the bubbly treat, looking as thought she’d rather skip this novelty; but, a true Fraser, she would never admit defeat with Nolan so proudly enjoying his, and so she gamely drank, getting violent hiccups almost instantly.
“A Hogmanay toast?” Saoirse suggested, rising to her feet to pour some whisky. She offered one to me, but I accepted only a ginger ale. Many people drank alcohol regularly during pregnancy, I knew (as had I, in the past) but somehow now it made me feel ill to think of accidentally intoxicating the poor thing.
The toasts flew thick and fast. To our families! To the new year! To a better season on the pitch! To the whisky! And even—
“To our Bonnie Prince!” Charlie said, with an eye to Jamie, making a rude gesture toward the ceiling. “May he sleep wi’ spiders in his grave for the feckless wanker he was.”
“AAA-bloody-MEN!” I intoned with feeling.
“Aye,” Jamie said with a rueful nod as he drank, though he crossed himself.
He promptly choked as Bree squeaked out, “Whatssa WANE-gr?”
Before the rest of us could react, Nolan grinned fiendishly and started in with, “It means a–”
“That’s QUITE enough from you, a blalaich,” Saoirse said sharply. “And what would Great-Gran Murray say if she heard ye were knowing such a word??”
I shook with silent laughter along with Charlie, such that I almost didn’t hear Jamie’s quiet question:
My belly tightened and I whipped my eyes up to look at him. He’d schooled his face into a mask of control—a sure bellwether of the deep emotional turmoil within him.
“My mother’s mam. They live together in Cambridge,” Charlie said blithely as he poured more whiskey all around. “The MacAlisters were none too pleased about my Da’s choice, but even they had to admit in the end what a fine woman she was. Strong and certain and wi’ a mouth on her that could wither fruit. Not one to charm royalty, she, but a damn formidable sort, Murrays.”
Formidable. Like Jenny.
“From, erm, which part of Scotland, is your mother’s family?” I asked casually.
“Roundabout Inverness, mostly.”
My heart quickened with excitement. Not far at all from Broch Morda. I was opening my mouth to ask more questions, to narrow and ascertain, but then I caught Jamie’s eye, his ever-so-slight shake of the head. I closed my mouth.
Later, after supper, while Charlie and Saoirse cleared the table (refusing our many offers of help), Jamie and I took the children into the sitting room again.
I took Jamie’s hand. “Why not, my love?” I asked gently.
He knew what I meant, but he didn’t answer right away, nor did he look me in the eye. He pulled me close and pressed a kiss to my cheek.
“Does it—” I began tentatively, but he was already speaking.
“Tis enough to me,” he said, simply, “that they might be.”
And though it at first struck me as utterly ridiculous, not to wish to know for certain, I did come to understand what he meant, as the evening went on. To KNOW was so final. Jenny and Ian certainly had THOUSANDS of descendants, and even so, the chances that we’d encountered someone from their direct line was highly unlikely, or at the very least, very difficult to prove. To allow himself to believe–that was the gift, here.
And I could see it in his eyes, the soft contemplation of it, the sense of true brotherhood between he and Charlie now even deeper. The tenderness that radiated out from his face as he knelt to speak to little Will about a toy. I could almost see the thoughts rolling through him.
Might some scrap of this lad owe itself to Ian?
To Ellen of Leoch or Black Brian Fraser?
“Bree, a leannan, do ye want to come sit wi’ Da?”
“No,” she said, shrugging back and rubbing her face, “I wan’ Mama.”
“Fair enough,” he laughed. “I would want your Mama, too.”
“Come here, baby,” I beckoned, groaning a bit as I gathered her up against my chest. “Oof, there’s my sweet girl.” I savored the feeling, as I always did, of holding Bree in my arms and the baby in my body. The sounds around us were muffled and distant as we settled into a warm heap of love.
The radio was switched on at 10:00, detailing the new year’s celebrations happening around the country. We’d arrived late in the evening, with the little ones having taken naps late in the day to stave off sleepiness, but the late hour was still wearing on them. Hot chocolate and slices of Black Bun cake at 11:00 were enough to rouse them temporarily, but it still took a great deal to get them all conscious for the big moment as we all got to our feet for the final seconds of 1950.
And as it always did, Auld lang syne began to play. It meant absolutely nothing to Jamie, of course. He had predated Robert Burns and his lyrics, and couldn’t have discerned the tune in any case, but he listened to the words with eager interest. Charlie was drowning out the radio with the traditional scots rendition, though I only knew the same anglicized version that was playing.
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
And for the first time in my life, with my children held close and Jamie’s arm around my back, the song gave me chills:
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And both of us had tears running down our faces as we locked eyes. No, we wouldn’t ever forget the things of our past: neither the daisies of our life, nor the weary feet from the trampings of war, nor the roaring seas of tragedy that had indeed once swept us apart.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And as we moved toward the front door for the first-footing, I kissed my trustyfriend, and didn’t need to see any dark stranger outside to know that 1951 would be the best year of our lives.
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences Archive Warning: Major Character Death Category: Gen Fandoms: Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Avengers (Marvel Movies) Characters: Tony Stark, Vision (Marvel), Pepper Potts, James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Natasha Romanov (Marvel), Steve Rogers, Nick Fury Additional Tags: Alternate Universe, Character Death, Terminal Illnesses, Major Character Injury, Angst, Post-Captain America: Civil War (Movie), Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, Steve slamming his shield into Tony’s chest has some consequences
Baby Boomers: your millennial children are worse off than you.
With a median household income of $40,581, millennials earn 20 percent less than boomers did at the same stage of life, despite being better educated, according to a new analysis of Federal Reserve data by the advocacy group Young Invincibles.
The analysis being released Friday gives concrete details about a troubling generational divide that helps to explain much of the anxiety that defined the 2016 election. Millennials have half the net worth of boomers. Their home ownership rate is lower, while their student debt is drastically higher.
The generational gap is a central dilemma for the incoming presidency of Donald Trump, who essentially pledged a return to the prosperity of post-World War II America. The analysis also hints at the issues of culture and identity that divided many voters, showing that white millennials — who still earn much more than their blacks and Latino peers — have seen their incomes plummet the most relative to boomers.
Andrea Ledesma, 28, says her parents owned a house and were raising kids by her age.
Requested by Anon: Reader finds Tony on a random roof in New York. He’s all suited up and only there to think, and the reader waltzes into his path because she’s also there to think. They joke and make each other smile, even if both of them were trying to be alone (and maybe to cry tbh) Cute fluff between strangers.
Oh god. I think I’ve read all the available post CACW fics that features Tony and team Iron Man and TONY STARK DEFENSE SQUAD with Harley Keener, and Peter, and Kamala and the Barton kids, and so now I’m going crazy.
It’s like when you realize you ran out of your favourite coffee.
I really really want more. Especially the ones with Tony and Harley, and Team Captain America realizing their wrong.
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply Category: Gen Fandoms: Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Avengers (Marvel Movies) Characters: Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanov, Sam Wilson, Tony Stark, T'Challa, Clint Barton, Other Character Tags to Be Added Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Post-Captain America: Civil War (Movie), Cryogenics, Comic Book Science, Guilt, Super Soldier Serum, Other Additional Tags to Be Added Chapter 1 of 5
Since you were talking about Cap 2, what do you think about MCU Natasha's D.O.B. being 1984 instead of 1920s, like in the comics? It did erase a lot of her history.
It erased a lot of her history in terms of years but not really in terms of her story. For the vast majority of Natasha’s publishing history she hasn’t been secretly immortal. The first stories of Natasha as a small child at the Battle of Stalingrad were published in the early 70s, which would have put Natasha in her mid-30s. Many characters had similar background ties to WW2 or Korea or Vietnam that have since faded away into the familiar impossibilities of comic book time. This kind of thing isn’t erasure, just an insistence that everything in the Marvel Universe happened no more than twelve years ago, and that Franklin Richards is still like 8.
The idea that Natasha is secretly much older than she looks was first brought up in an early 90s X-Men story, but Claremont, the writer, never offered an explanation for this revelation and left the book soon after. So that became a dangling plotline, and pretty soon other writers just decided to ignore it, which was pretty easy to do because it was literally one line in an X-Men comic. Creators continued to treat Natasha as being basically the age she appeared to be up through the middle 2000s. I’d say that it’s the Richard Morgan stuff that informs the MCU background of the character the most, and in those stories Natasha is explicitly stated to be in her late 30s.
Now, the MCU is highly informed by what I’ll call the Mark Millar era of comics. The Ultimates, Civil War, the Winter Soldier arc— all of them were published between 2002 and 2007. Those Richard Morgan Black Widow minis fall pretty directly into the same time period and aesthetic sensibilities. Iron Man came out in 2008, and I’m sure they started brainstorming a sequel even before the first film was released. They wanted to include Black Widow, so they looked at some of the more recent comics to get ideas about what Black Widow was like, and being born in 1929 hadn’t yet been firmly established or adequately explained.
It actually was around 2008 that the idea that Natasha was much, much older than she looked came back into continuity, primarily through Ed Brubaker’s post-Civil WarCaptain America stories, but also through some Wolverine: Origins stories no one remembers anymore. Anyway, by the time Iron Man 2 was set for release, Marvel was publishing stories that finally explained how Natasha could actually be 80 years old and showing her fighting in WWII. But it was too late for these ideas to be incorporated into the MCU.
Johansson has said that she’s always played Natasha as being born in 1984, that it was something covered in her initial talks about the character. I know I get annoyed when they retcon the comic stories for the sole sake of having them be more like the movies, and I think making Natasha’s D.O.B. circa 1929 in Captain America 2 would have been retconning the movies to make them more like the comics.
I don’t actually dislike the idea that Natasha was born in 1929 and I think some of the comic stories we’ve gotten from that are really cool. But it’s not an essential part of her character for me, probably because I started with a lot of the 2002-2007 comics, just like the MCU did. I don’t mind the comics and the movies being different in this regard.
Stucky staying to get in a hotel room before they talk about them in the 21st century. Steve ends up having a nightmare, saying things like "I'm sorry, Bucky. Please I'm sorry." And "I understand why you don't love me anymore, I'm sorry." And sobbing. Or a night sexy dream where Bucky makes him feel so good and Steve says daddy. You know, if you don't want angst.
Bucky doesn’t sleep. He lets Steve sleep and takes the first watch. They’ve been on a mission taking down the rest of the remaining Hydra bases after Tony cleared Bucky’s name and Steve’s.
It took a lot of time and healing and T’Challa, along with Wanda’s help, was a life saver but they got there in the end. But that was a story for another time. Steve slept like an angel, he looked so young. Innocent and untouched by the cruelty of the world.
Bucky notices a frown beginning to form on Steve’s lips. A moment later, Steve lets out a small whimper. He’s silent for a moment and then he twists, face flushed. There are tears leaking from his eyes.
“Bucky…” he whispers, “I’m sorry.” He lets out a hiccuping sob and goes silent. Bucky walks over to his bed and put a hand on Steve’s cheek.
“I’m sorry,” Steve whimpered in his sleep, “I’m sorry. Please, I’m so sorry. I understand…”
“Stevie, wake up. You’re havin’ a -
“…if you don’t love me anymore,” Steve whispered. He lets out another sob, curling in on himself. He’s trembling in his sleep, biting his bottom lip.
“Stevie, please -
“You…don’t love me,” Steve moans, crying earnestly, “do you?” Bucky’s heart breaks, of course he loves Steve. He just didn’t know how to bring it up. Stupid of him, he knows.
“Baby,” Bucky whispers, kissing Steve’s cheeks, licking away the tears there, “sweetheart, wake up.” It takes a couple of seconds but soon, Steve’s eyes are opening.
“Buck?” he croaks and then seems to realise what happened and backs away, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to -
“Baby,” Bucky says gently, “c’mere.” He opens his arms and Steve all but lunges into his embrace, sobbing into Bucky’s neck.
“Sweetheart, I’m here now. I’m so sorry I didn’t say anythin’,” Bucky kisses his temple, “oh, baby doll. Don’t cry, we’re goin’ to be just fine.”
“I love you,” Steve croaks and clings onto Bucky for dear life, wrapping his arms and legs around Bucky’s neck and waist. “Don’t leave me, please don’t leave me. I can’t - can’t do this without you -
“It’s okay, Stevie, you don’t need to,” Bucky lay him out on the bed and when he tries to get Steve some water, Steve locked his arms and legs tighter, whimpering.
“D-don’t,” he mumbled, “please, please don’t.”
“Okay, darlin’,” Bucky says, kicking off his boots and pulling off his jacket. He gets into Steve’s bed and immediately Steve latches onto him, burying his face in Bucky’s chest. “I gotcha, kitten. I gotcha.”
“Bucky,” Steve moans, wrapping his legs around one of Bucky’s thighs, fingers digging into the brunette’s chest, “Bucky.”
“Oh, I know, I know,” Bucky croons, rubbing his hand up and down Steve’s back, “I know. Baby, I know. I love you so much, and I’m never, ever lettin’ you go again. You hear me?”
Steve nods and looks up at him. He’s all puffy eyed and teary and Bucky thinks he’s beautiful. He leans down and kisses Steve. The noise Steve makes is enough to have Bucky growling and rolling the blond underneath his body.
Steve looks up at him and smiles sleepily, “stay.”
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences Archive Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply Category: Gen Fandoms: Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Captain America (Movies) Character: Tony Stark Additional Tags: Post-Captain America: Civil War (Movie), Blood, Unsound Medical Practices, Comic Book Science, Hypothermia, Abandonment, Corpses, nothing’s really graphic though
So this is my first time posting a fic on tumblr. Don’t know how this will go. I guess if people seem to respond, I’ll write another part?
Let me know what you think!
Bucky x Female Reader
Description: Reader has terrakinesis and going through a lot of emotional personal issues when Steve brings back Bucky.
Pairing: Bucky x Fem/Reader (enhanced)
Word Count: 6,768
Set after Captain America: Civil War. Contains Civil War spoilers!!!
Tensions remained tight within the Avengers. Tony still hated Bucky. In fact, he wouldn’t even acknowledge Bucky when they were in the same room. Thankfully that was rare, seeing as Steve and his team were hidden from the public. They were still considered wanted vigilantes.
Steve, with the help of Tony, found an abandoned subway station in New York to make somewhat of a base for the exiled crew. Tony fixed it up so it was almost as nice as the Avengers compound. Almost. But more importantly, it was untraceable to the government. They were hidden and they were safe.
Tony and Steve still had their disagreements, but Tony knew they didn’t deserve to be behind bars. There were still moments when he wanted to end Bucky, however. Steve just hoped that would close with time. On the bad days, many of them refused to admit that they thought maybe Bucky should’ve stayed frozen in Wakanada just a little bit longer.
Living as vigilantes forced Steve to experience his daily life in a different way. That’s how he met Y/N. Roaming the streets of New York City in the shadows allowed him to observe others more than before. He had become a celebrity after the battle in the city. But now he had no choice but to slip through the streets unnoticed. He managed to fall upon other enhanced people. Some he would sidestep. They weren’t lost; they just wanted to be left alone. Others, like Y/N, needed some guidance. But they were also meant for something more.
“So you’re sure you’re up for this?” Steve asked sincerely. “This place is huge. You don’t have to meet anyone until you’re ready. Everyone’s pretty good at keeping to themselves.”
Bucky sighed. “Steve, I’ve got it under control.”
Bucky had been frozen for months. T’Challa furthered his kindness to the brainwashed soldier, finding experts to help him break the mind control Hydra had imposed on him for so long. Bucky refused to leave the sanctuary of Wakanda until he, and everyone who helped him, were absolutely sure he wouldn’t be a danger to those around him.
Steve looked at Bucky, trying to read everything his best friend wasn’t saying. After a moment, he nodded and gripped Bucky’s shoulder in encouragement.
“Well… you already know a lot of them. Sam,” Steve pointed to the veteran who was leaning against the kitchen counter with his coffee. Sam had been watching Bucky with narrowed eyes the moment Bucky arrived. He gave a half nod to Bucky…but it came off as more of a glare.
Most of the compound was open concept. Bucky could pretty much see everyone spread out. Scott was sitting at a desk, tinkering with his suit and gadgets. Steve called out his name. Instantly, Scott recognized Bucky and gave an enthusiastic wave from behind a bright lamp. Bucky managed to give somewhat of a shy smile.
They kept walking through the compound. Steve didn’t want to make a big deal about Bucky’s arrival, especially because Bucky didn’t seem to want the attention. There was an opening with higher ceilings further into the compound. It was almost a sync hole that was a pit from the rest of the complex.
Steve led him toward the brighter lights. It was set up like a gym and training room. Safely away from everything else and protected with some high tech glass that was pretty much indestructible. At least Tony went on to explain for at least an hour, but Steve stopped listening. They paused at the glass, looking down at the pit below. Red flares were flying around everywhere.
Clint was training Wanda on hand-to-hand combat. He moved in a way that required her to use physical force combined with her abilities. Steve watched intently, forgetting Bucky’s tour for a moment.
“Come on.” Steve nodded his head to an elevator that led down.
“Looking good, Wanda.” Steve complimented as he walked into the pit.
“I still need some improvements.” She replied with a thick accent.
“Her toughest critic…” Clint muttered with a laugh. He nodded towards Bucky. “Good to see you again, man.” Bucky nodded back. Wanda gave a friendly smile.
Suddenly the ground started to shake. Bucky looked around with concern…but easily steadied his feet. However, the other three seemed utterly unfazed.
“She’s still at it? She was training hours ago.” Steve said with concern and disappointment. He glanced down a weird hallway that Bucky hadn’t noticed before. It seemed haphazardly made. No support or flooring. It was a rock tunnel that looked like it belonged in a coalmine.
Clint shrugged. Wanda’s expression was sad. “Maybe you should talk to her.” She suggested.
“She doesn’t want to talk to anyone.” Steve immediately answered. Before Bucky could ask what they were talking about, Sam’s voice was heard on some kind of intercom.
“Hey, Cap, Tony’s on the line. Can you come up here for a second? You too, Wanda and Clint.”
Steve looked at Bucky awkwardly.
“I don’t need a babysitter, punk.” Bucky said with a forced smirk.
The three of them quickly walked to the elevator to go back to the main floor. The moment he was alone, the floor shook again. It was harsher this time… Bucky almost lost his balance. With intrigue, he started slowly walking toward the rock tunnel Steve had been looking at.
Dust sprinkled down from the rocky ceiling as he slowly inched forward. He senses didn’t tell him there was any threat, especially after listening to the other’s conversation about who was waiting on the other end.
When he finally got to an opening. The walls seemed to be shaking too. He saw a young, beautiful woman in the middle of a huge cave. Boulders were flying around. He glanced at her hands and it appeared as if she was controlling them. Then the ground started shaking again and the land beneath her feet rose up like a platform. She started jumping from rock platform to platform, like a staircase that shot from the earth on her command.
Bucky didn’t know how long he had stood there watching her. But he jumped when Steve was at his side. He cursed himself. No one should be able to sneak up on him life that. Apparently the girl had his full attention.
“Impressive, isn’t it?” Steve commented as he leaned against the rock wall, crossing his arms. Bucky just nodded. “It’s terrakinesis. That’s just Tony’s fancy word for earth manipulation.”
The girl finally did a backflip off one of her rock podiums. Landing perfectly into a knee lunge. There was a pause of silent, as if the earth was thankful for her finally giving it some kind of rest. She slowly stood up, her back to them. Bucky could see her chest rising and falling with exhaustion even from their distance.
She was wearing high-waisted black leggings and just a black sports bra.
“Why don’t you take a break Y/N?” Steve finally called out. Bucky expected her to jump in surprise from the interruption. But she barely acknowledged Steve. Slowly she walked in their direction to a bottle of water that was just a few feet away from them. If she noticed Bucky’s presence, she didn’t show it. Now that she was closer, he could see how toned she was. Her muscles even more obvious from her glistening sweat. He didn’t doubt that she could hold her own in a fight, even without the earth manipulation.
“Y/N, this is Bucky. He’s going to be staying with us.” Steve said cheerfully.
Y/N took a swig of water and tossed the bottle roughly to the ground. She eyed Bucky without a care. “Nice to meet you.” She said unexpectedly nice. For some reason, Bucky’s 1940s gentleman instincts suddenly wanted him to offer her his hand. Something that hadn’t happened meeting any of the others. He managed to ignore the urge.
She missed the inner turmoil and was already turning back around to go to the middle of the cave again.
“Y/N, that’s enough. You’ve been at it for hours.” Steve voice was stern now.
“I’m fine.” She snapped.
“You look like you’re going to collapse any second. Plus, Clint is only in town until tomorrow evening. You promised you’d work on hand-to-hand combat with him before he left.”
“I’ll be fine.” She said again, raising herself on a rock again. This time, it was completely detached from the ground. She floated around the cave.
Bucky expected Steve to get in Captain mode and yell, ordering her to stop. To his surprise, Steve’s face softened. “Y/N, please… for me.”
The rock stopped mid-air and slowly shook to the ground. She didn’t look mad. In fact, it almost looked like she was thankful someone finally got her to rest.
Now Bucky could see the fatigue and…was it sadness?… in her eyes. Without another word or glance, she quickly walked past them and back through the tunnel.
Steve sighed. “She’s not really like that.” Bucky looked at him, expecting more information. “Y/N’s been having a rough time.” That was all he alluded to before he guided them back to the compound.
“Sometimes the other’s stop by if they can manage to come unnoticed.” Steve chatted, as if to change the subject. “Peter the most, since he lives the closest.”
Steve smirked. “The kid with the webs…”
Bucky grimaced, remembering the confrontation him and Sam had with the spider freak.
“Come on…I’ll show you to your room.”
Bucky awoke in a cold sweat. He might have been able to get rid of the brainwashing and manipulation triggers… but he couldn’t stop the memories of what he’d done because of them. The doctor’s in Wakanda said the PTSD would always be something he’d have to deal with. But it still made him feel like a failure every time he shot up from another nightmare.
He knew there was no going back to sleep. So he’d wander. Eventually he fell upon a hatch that had an arrow pointing up. During the tour, Steven mentioned that they had access to some sort of balcony/rooftop when they all felt like they were in a dungeon. After all, the whole place was underground.
Bucky opened the hatch as quietly as possible and a metal spiral staircase was on the other side, already being lit by either the moon or the city lights above. There was a slight breeze moving his long hair. He paused when he got to the top.
Y/N was sitting in one of the few chairs on the balcony.
Bucky hesitated, not wanting to interrupt. And she didn’t seem like she wanted to be bothered after their first meeting. But he understood.
“Couldn’t sleep?” She asked, not taking her eyes off the skyline.
Bucky was impressed with her acuteness. Now he couldn’t leave without seeming impolite. But he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t curious about the woman. As he made his way to the chair next to hers, he realized he had completely underestimated her beauty. He had noticed it watching her training… but it was a different beauty: fierce, independent, and almost dangerous. Now, with her hair washed and skin without sweat, she looked sweet and beautiful. But there was that sadness again.
He silently sat down, matching her gaze toward the twinkling skyline.
She studied him when he wasn’t looking. He was too focused on not intruding. She hid a little smirk at his quietness.
“I think I came off a little rude earlier today.” She finally broke the silence. “I’m Y/N.” She reached her right hand to him confidently.
He shook it gently. “Bucky.”
“Steve’s been so excited, waiting for your arrival.” She said. “I’m glad you’re here. He already seems happier.”
She was so mysterious to him, sounding so sweet now when she had been so cold and almost reckless earlier. Maybe that’s just how she got when she was training, he considered.
“You couldn’t sleep either?” He surprised himself by asking. Since he escaped Hydra, he still wasn’t very talkative. It was hard to know if it was due to his lack of trust in himself around others or if he still didn’t see the point in connecting with others.
“Nope.” Y/N muttered. She took a drink from a bottle. Bucky realized it was whiskey. She watched him eyeing it. “Shh.” She giggled, but not in a drunken way. “Don’t tell Steve I have this. It will just give him something else to worry about.” But her smirk proved that she didn’t really care if he found out.
“Do you get nightmares?” She asked genuinely. Her voice had gone even gentler.
Bucky gaze quickly snapped to hers.
“Steve mentioned to me about what you’ve gone through.” Y/N explained.
It made Bucky realize maybe Steve and her were closer than he thought. Steve was overly protective of him. He wouldn’t just tell anyone his story.
“Something like that…” He finally muttered an answer.
Y/N just nodded slowly.
Bucky was surprised she didn’t push any further. Usually people would ask more. Or, in a forced tone of authenticity, tell him they could always talk to him if he needed to. The doctors in Wakanda always pulled that crap with him.
But the two of them just sat there in silence, both staring out at the city.
Bucky knew he wouldn’t be able to go to sleep. But a wave of relaxation draped over him the longer he sat there. Sitting in silence with someone else comfortably was underrated. The air was getting cold. He was about to suggest she head back in. His super soldier serum practically made him immune to the cold and the sicknesses that came with overexposure to it. However he doubted she had the same resistance.
But when he looked back over at her. She was sound asleep. The bottle of whiskey was hanging from her hand, completely empty. He guessed that was the only way she could beat her insomnia.
Once again, his old school gentleman response was to carry back inside. He would do it happily, especially since no one would be awake to question it. But he realized he had no idea where her room was located. As if some higher being could sense his unrest, Steve came onto the balcony. He stopped in his tracks when he made eye contact with Bucky.
Bucky, refusing to look like he’d been caught doing something bad, put a finger to his lips. Steve nodded in understanding.
“Don’t worry. She won’t wake up.” Steve explained, still in a quiet tone. Bucky realized he had a thick blanket in his grasp. Steve started unfolding it.
Bucky stood up. “It’s too cold. I’ll carry her inside.”
Steve, as if he were waiting for his best friend’s chivalry to activate, instantly shook his head. “No…it’ll infuriate her.”
Bucky opened his mouth to protest.
“Trust me, Buck. She’ll be fine.” Steve draped the thick blanket over Y/N’s sleeping form. Then he saw the empty bottle of whiskey. Picking it up, he shook his head almost in disappointment.
“Come on.” He muttered to Bucky.
They walked silently back inside and closed the hatch behind them.
“What’s wrong with her?” Bucky had the courage to ask Steve.
He narrowed his eyes at him. “Nothing’s wrong with her, Buck.”
Bucky scoffed. It was strange to see his friend so protective over someone. Usually the energy was in his direction. It sparked a little emotion he didn’t recognize. Was it jealousy? He suspected Steve saw Y/N as more than just a comrade.
Steve started walking back toward both of their rooms. “You know what I mean. You said she was having a rough time…?” Bucky pushed. A part of him would have been selfishly relieved if there were someone else here who was fighting through something like him.
Steve didn’t speak until they were at their bedroom doors. He slowly faced Bucky and addressed the question finally. “She got her heart broken, Buck.” He sounded exhausted and empathetic when he conclusively said it. “She’s not handling it too well. She’s usually good at hiding it. In fact, none of us even knew it happened for almost a month. Then she…she just stopped acting like herself.”
Bucky barely nodded. Somehow he was surprised. It explained the sadness and the air of heedlessness that surrounded her. It was a very human thing that she was going through… and surprisingly normal. In fact, it was the most human thing he witnessed since he escaped Hydra.
Steve seemed to be trying to read Bucky’s mind. “Don’t even think about it.”
Bucky blinked. “What are you talking about?”
“Just because you’ve been in and out of cryo… and brainwashed doesn’t mean you’re still not a lady-killer. I saw the way you watched her yesterday.”
Bucky smirked. That was definitely not the person he was anymore. “Somebody’s touchy.” He teased. Though a part of him was laying bait to see if Steve had feelings for Y/N.
“It’s not like that.” Steve said seriously, ruining Bucky’s attempt at being playful. “She’s a good friend. Like the little sister I never had.”
“Steve…I’m still dangerous. I’m the remains of the Winter Solider. I think I’ve got it under control. But I’m always going to have to work on it. I’m never going to be able to completely rid myself of my demons.”
Steve gave him a sad look. “You don’t know that.”
But he immediately shook his head. “Yes, I do.” Bucky sighed. “I’m not looking for pity. I’m telling you because the last thing I need to be doing is courting women. That’s never going to be a part of me again.”
Steve didn’t disagree, because his friend was right. Not only would Bucky be a danger to anyone who got close to him. But he couldn’t imagine the emotional damage Bucky could go through if he fell in love and that hypothetical woman couldn’t love him back the way he needed.
Steve gripped his shoulder before saying, “Night, Buck.”
But Bucky couldn’t go back to sleep. He changed into a black tank top and sweatpants. No one would be in the gym now. He needed to train. The doctors in Wakanda monitored his fitness far too much. At the beginning, they worried that too much physical activity and adrenaline would ignite the winter soldier once again. The whole thing left Bucky constantly feeling restless.
He walked into the pit and the lights slowly brightened. A robotic voice suddenly spoke, “Would you like me to play music, James?” He smirked at it calling him by his first name. Steve must have put him in the system before he arrived.
He shrugged. ”Sure.”
“What would you like to hear?”
Suddenly Bucky realized that he had no idea. Sure he’d heard the music of today. But he had no idea what any of the genres were called. He couldn’t think of a single song or artist that wasn’t from the 1940s and before.
As if the robotic voice could understand his silence, she spoke again, “Would you like to listen to someone else’s playlist, James?”
“That’s fine.” He muttered as he stretched his non-biotic arm. Suddenly 1970s rock started playing. But he couldn’t tell the difference, let alone what decade it was from.
Y/N heard her music playing as she had gone to the kitchen to get coffee. She went over to the glass walls that looked down into the pit. Bucky was drenched in sweat, his longer hair pulled into a low and short bun. She wondered what he thought of her music choices, especially Led Zeppelin. After all, he probably had zero exposure to the past 80 years of music.
She moved away from the glass as soon as Bucky decided his tank top was pointless, since it was now soaked in sweat.
Y/N sat in the kitchen, trying to get over her slight hangover.
Clint came bounding into the room. “Bad news: The wife needs me. I won’t be able to stay and train you today.”
Y/N shrugged. “Don’t worry about it.”
Clint shrugged back. “Well, I’m not. Steve said he would instead. I think he wants Bucky to help out too.”
Y/N blinked at him. “That doesn’t sound like the best idea.”
Clint laughed as he poured himself coffee into a to-go cup. “Sounds like someone’s a little scared…” He teased.
Y/N threw a balled up napkin at him. “I could knock him out in minutes and you know it, Barton.”
Clint easily dodged the napkin and chuckled as he grabbed his duffle bag. “Prove it. And make sure you get Steve to videotape it as evidence.” With that, he rushed out the door.
“As if Rogers knows how to work a god damn smartphone!” Y/N shouted right before the door closed behind him.
“Y/N, Captain Rogers would like you to join him and James in the pit.” F.R.I.D.A.y. announced to her. Y/N smirked at it using James instead of a Bucky. She sighed and rushed up into her room to change into her workout clothes.
Y/N makes her way to the pit and finds Steve and Bucky going at it. Bucky’s shirt was off and his muscular chest was glistening with sweat. But Steve was wearing a plain white t-shirt and grey sweatpants.
It’s Bucky who noticed her standing with her arms crossed, looking slightly annoyed at being called. He had Steve pinned and slowly got up without glancing away from Y/N. Steve followed his friend’s gaze and jumped up.
“Y/N,” He greeted in between heavy breaths. “Since Clint had to head home, I think Bucky should help you improve your hand-to-hand combat.”
Bucky’s eyes darted to Steve quickly, verifying that he hadn’t been informed about this until now. “You sure that’s a good idea, Steve?” He asked as if Y/N wasn’t in the room.
“Don’t worry, Winter Solider.” Y/N cooed as she took off her heavy sweatshirt, leaving her in just tight leggings and a sports bra. “I’ll go easy on you.”
Bucky glared at her with the name ‘Winter Soldier”. But he was still worried about the safety of those around him. He was comfortable with sparring Steve. They had gone hand to hand when he wasn’t himself and Steve held his own. Though Y/N wasn’t petite or helpless looking in the slightest, he was sure she wasn’t aware of what he was capable of doing to another person.
“Steve…” Bucky tried again.
But Steve ignored his second plea and patted him on the shoulder. “You gotta start feeling in control, Buck.” Then he turned his attention to Y/N. “No powers, got it?”
Y/N walked into the center of the ring, smirking at Bucky, who still looked apprehensive. “Aye Aye, Captain.” She got into a fighting stance, waiting for him to make the first move.
Bucky glanced at Steve, a last chance effort of making this stop. But Steve just shrugged and gestured toward the mats, as if he was giving them the go ahead.
Bucky was still looking at his friend when Y/N came after him. She’d done an aerial flip to catch him off guard. To his surprise, he took a step back, forced by his uneasiness. With that she threw a kick, which he deflected with ease. Next thing he knew, she was throwing punch after punch.
Anyone could tell that Bucky was stronger than Y/N. What she counted on was being faster than the opponents she couldn’t match in muscle.
Bucky finally had the courage to throw a hit. Y/N leaned back to dodge it. An incorrect move, for she ruined her balance and fell back, hitting the ground hard. But without even blinking, she did a kick-up off the ground and was back on her feet. She glared at Bucky for exposing a mistake on her end. Now she came at him even faster, throwing a punch that managed to land on the right side of his face, he faltered a few steps. Y/N immediately followed with a roundhouse kick to his abdominal. Bucky fell forward from the hit and now rest on his knees and hands. He looked up to see Y/N surprisingly glaring at him as she moved back a few steps to give him some space to get back up.
“You taking it easy on me, James?” She used his real name to taunt him.
Bucky got up reluctantly. How many times had he hurt people? Men, women, even children were dead because of the Winter Solider. Now Bucky struggled with even sparring, fearing he still had that inside him, ready to damage anyone. Hydra. Those monsters wouldn’t stop until everyone was as evil as them.
Suddenly a fire awoke in Bucky at the thought of all the people responsible for what he’d become. He lunged at Y/N, not holding back this time. Y/N struggled to keep up. She wasn’t expecting him to actually comply with her and Steve’s demands. With his newfound speed, her deflections and defenses were getting sloppier and weaker. He suddenly threw a punch with his metal arm, which Y/N had noticed were always weaker. He was pulling those punches. She dodged it easily but wasn’t ready for him to throw an upper cut immediately after with his other arm.
Y/N felt it happen in slow motion as she tried, but failed, to completely escape the second blow. It clipped her nose, sending a wave of pain. The impact threw her back and she landed on her side, barely catching herself from hitting the ground harder than she already did.
She looked down to already see blood dripping from her nose already. Y/N touched her nose and muttered a curse word under her breath.
“You okay, Y/N?” Steve asked, relaxed but genuine. He’d seen Y/N get hurt far worse and barely let out a cry. She was tough.
Bucky however, felt like shit. Once again, his old-fashioned, 40s gentleman self came out. He was disgusted with himself. How did he just hit a woman? But he managed to contain his inner turmoil once again. Quickly, he grabbed his shirt that he had discarded. He walked over to Y/N who was trying to block the blood from getting everywhere with a casual back of her hand. He offered her a hand up, which she surprisingly took.
“Here.” Bucky said softly, giving her his shirt.
“Do I look pretty?” Y/N joked as she happily took it from him.
He smirked, realizing she was trying to make him feel better. “Come here.” He reached for her face to steady it so he could get a good look at her nose.
Without even thinking, she flinched from his touch. Bucky was about to take it personally, as if she was scared of him now…or always had been. But Steve interrupted before the thought could settle.
“She doesn’t like to be touched.” Steve stated. It earned him a glare from Y/N, like he just gave away one of her prized secrets. Steve was going to intervene. But Bucky ignored him and turned his attention back to Y/N.
“I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to check to see if I broke your nose.” Bucky’s blue eyes turned gentle and serious. Y/N stared into them for a moment before reluctantly nodding her head. He softly grabbed her chin and tilted her face this way and that, studying her nose.
“Good news: it’s not broken. Bad news: you might get a black eye… or two.” He confirmed.
“Well, shit… I had a hot date tonight.” Y/N sighed dramatically.
Bucky held his breath, dropping her chin from his grasp.
Steve chuckled. “She’s kidding.”
“I didn’t realize you were a nurse.” Y/N teased him.
Bucky gave a very small smile, only spreading through his lips. “Well…I had to look out for this punk.” He gestured toward Steve. “After all of his fights, I had to figure out if I needed to take him to the hospital or not.”
“Y/N, put some ice on that nose… you’re done for today.” Steve ordered. Then he took in a deep breath. “Your-“
“Yeah, yeah… my footing was off and that’s why he clipped me with the second punch.” Y/N sighed, knowing he was about to lecture her on every single mistake she had made in the fight. “I know what I did wrong, Cap. I got the blood to prove it.”
Y/N started walking to the stairs and then she stopped, as if she’d forgot something. She put out her hand and it started to clench into a fist. With it, a small quake erupted but it just seemed to be in a small radius around Bucky. It got so violent, so quickly that it made him stumble to his knees.
He looked up at Y/N with a playful glare.
“Payback for giving me a bloody nose and probably double black eyes.” She confirmed nonchalantly.
As soon as she was out of sight, Bucky’s face turned dark. He stomped toward Steve, shoving him roughly.
“What the hell were you thinking?” He practically spluttered. “I could have seriously hurt her.”
Steve shrugged off his anger. “Buck… it’s just a bloody nose. Injuries she would withstand in the field wouldn’t even come close to that mild. Y/N’s tough… she’s more upset that you took it easy on her and that she made a mistake.”
Bucky walked away from him and started pacing in frustration. “You still don’t get it. We are not the same.” Steve’s face got serious now. “Yeah… we both got the same serum. But afterward, you were trained to be a super soldier… to be America’s hero.” Bucky’s face transformed in pain, he was remembering all the terrible things he had been told to do. “But I… I was trained how to execute and make sure nobody even knew I had been there.”
Y/N was up again, avoiding the roof this time and opting to watch Netflix instead. Her body tensed when she realized someone else was in the room and she’d let them sneak up on her too easily. She readied herself as she felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise from them creeping up behind her.
Without further hesitation, Y/N jumped up from the couch and threw a punch. It was caught swiftly with a metal arm.
Y/N gasped in relief. “Jesus Christ, Bucky. I thought you were an intruder.” Yeah, other people lived here. But they usually made themselves known and didn’t sneak around so quietly.
“Sorry.” He muttered, realizing that he was still grasping her hand from the punch. He released it smoothly.
“Fuck…you really are some kind of ninja…” Y/N mumbled, still recovering from the rush of adrenaline.
Bucky was actually surprised she had detected him. Not that his intention was to surprise her by any means. It had been embedded in him to be invisible no matter where he was. “What gave me away?” He was curious.
Y/N got embarrassed, like it was a personal question. “Umm,” She struggled. “Every step you take sends a vibration into the earth…Even the slightest, quietest step. I can feel the tremors from the earth.”
Bucky’s eyes narrowed. What a powerful thing to possess. “That sounds very disrupting and overwhelming.”
Y/N sighed and sat back down on the couch. “Yeah…well… that’s why Steve brought me here. So I could learn to control it.” Her eyes were glued to the TV now, making it clear that she didn’t want to talk about it any further.
Bucky studied her a bit, knowing she wasn’t paying attention to him. He stood there somewhat uneasily, not wanting to disturb her alone time. Then he realized she was watching a French film.
“You speak French?” He found himself asking. He started to realize he talked more to her in the past day and half than anyone else he’d been around since he’d escaped Hydra’s grasp.
She glanced at him and smirked. “I wish.”
He pointed to the TV. “How do you know what they’re saying?” There were no words at the bottom of the screen.
Y/N’s face went blank for a moment, realizing he was right. “Oh…I didn’t even realize I forgot to turn on the subtitles.” She fiddled with the remote to turn them on again.
But Bucky observed her appearance. Her eyes were bloodshot, like she’d been crying. There were bags underneath as well. He wondered, out of the two of them, who slept the least. Something told him it was her. He realized that she’d probably been lost in thought, just using the movie as background noise before he almost scared her to death.
Y/N then glanced back at Bucky. He was watching the movie more intently than she was, as if he could understand it. Though his expression remained stoic as usual. Suddenly a thought occurred to her, she narrowed her eyes at him and crossed her arms. “How many languages do you speak?”
He stared her for a moment before answering. “I don’t know.”
She looked back at the screen, disappointed with his answer. But her disappointed sparked something in Bucky. He watched it hit something inside of him and he felt guilty for having caused such a feeling in her.
“I…” He started talking, but struggled. She quickly looked at him. “I hear or read things and I just immediately know what they say.”
Y/N gave him a sympathetic smile. As if she was about to say that was a neat gift to have, but had already thought about the way he had received it: Hydra.
Bucky shifted his weight, still not knowing whether to stay or go. She hadn’t exactly openly told him it was okay for him to be there.
“Surprised you didn’t get any black eyes.” He spotted curtly.
She ignored him.
“I’m sorry about that.” He added sincerely, misreading her silence as anger and bitterness from the injury he caused her.
Y/N sighed, not taking her eyes off the TV. “Bucky, the only thing you have to be sorry for is taking it easy on me and pulling your punches.”
Then she turned around to look at him behind her. “You know… Tony keeps some files here as back up. When he found out you were coming, he ‘carelessly’ left some top-secret files about you on the system. It was like he wanted to remind all of us who Steve was allowing to live here.”
Bucky’s entire body tensed at the mention of Tony Stark. He hadn’t seen the man since he tried to kill him in Siberia. It didn’t surprise him that he conveyed some form of rebellion and his disapproval for Bucky’s return.
If Y/N noticed the change in him, she didn’t acknowledge it and looked back at the movie. “The point is…I’ve seen you fight. There’s video footage to prove it. And I know what you’re capable of.”
Bucky was about to leave when he saw Y/N’s cellphone light up and vibrating on the table her feet were propped up on. He saw her try to hide her glance at him. Then her jaw flexed and her whole body stiffened.
It was almost 3 am. He wondered who would be trying to get a hold of her at this time. It went to voicemail. But 5 seconds later, it started ringing again. Y/N doesn’t seem to be able to ignore it any longer. She quickly picked up the call and hung up without saying anything, turned off the phone, and chucked it to the other side of the couch.
Bucky remembered what Steve had told him about her. “C'est vrai? Quelqu'un a cassé votre coeur ?” He says so softly to her, it’s almost a whisper.
Y/N’s eyes flicker to him. She didn’t know what he said, but it was his tone that got her attention.
Bucky stared into her eyes for a moment before saying, “Goodnight, Y/N.” He starts walking out of the living area. “Or I guess I should say good morning.” He adds with exhaustion.
Y/N watches him leave and can only assume he was heading to the roof again. She waited for his steps to disappear and to hear the hatch door close behind him.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y., translate what Bucky just said in French.”
There was a beat of silence. “Sergeant Barnes asked, ‘Is it true? Someone broke your heart?”” The intelligence system told Y/N.
She sighed, completely stunned. Then she realized Steve must have said something. She thought she was doing a good job of hiding all of it. Apparently she was wrong if everyone was talking about it behind her back. Y/N rubbed her face in frustration. What right did Steve have telling Bucky details of her life?
Steve came down to the pit to find Y/N blasting death metal and already covered in sweat. She was working on a punching bag.
“You’re late.” She stated bluntly without stopping her workout.
Steve narrowed his eyes. “Sorry.”
Y/N stopped and grabbed some water. “I thought we could train in my cave today. I don’t have a lot of experience using my terrakinesis in a fight one on one.”
Steve shifted his weight, trying to read Y/N’s mood. “Sure.” He finally agreed.
“Bring your shield.” Y/N yelled behind her back. Without even waiting for him to agree, she already started walking down the long, dark tunnel that lead to her personal cave.
Steve found her waiting in the middle, staring at him patiently. He had barely made a few steps into her makeshift ring before she split the ground beneath him. He leaped out of the way, barely dodging the fissure Y/N had created in the earth.
He got up to his feet and glared at her. “Really?”
Y/N cocked an eyebrow at him.
He tossed his shield. But Y/N threw up a rock wall and it got imbedded.
Their fight got quicker and more violent. The movement of earth and rocks was causing vibrations and small quakes around the compound. It brought the attention of all the others. Scott, Sam, and Wanda made their way down to watch what was happening, sensing it was something exciting. Bucky saw them head down and told himself not to follow, but he couldn’t deny that he was intrigued.
When he stood beside Wanda and Scott, he was shocked to see anger on Y/N’s face. She wasn’t holding back anything. It was like her only goal was to get Steve on his back, looking like a fool.
Y/N waved her hands and sharp shards of rock flew at Steve like daggers. He finally managed to rip his shield out of the rock wall just in time to block the attack. Next thing he knew, Y/N shook the ceiling of the cave to drop rocks from another angle. Steve was about to yell out for her to calm down, but he was beat by a wave of silence. Y/N conjured up a wave of sand, making her own type of fog. Steve couldn’t see a thing, but managed to get onto his feet. Y/N appeared out of nowhere, allowing a hole of clarity around the two of them. However, her sand haze remained thick enough that their audience couldn’t even see them.
Her eyes tore into him. “Next time you want to give out intimate aspects of my personal life to strangers… Don’t.” She hissed.
Steve looked confused and then realized what she could be talking about.
Without caring to hear his defense, she started walking toward the exit. Scott, Sam, and Wanda watched her carefully, easily reading her mood as something off. She shoved past Bucky without even acknowledging him or the others.
“What’s gotten into her?” Scott muttered to Wanda. She shrugged.
“Somebody’s pissed off.” Sam chuckled to himself.
With that, the three of them started heading back.
The sand haze finally settled with Y/N’s exit. Bucky saw Steve walking slowly out of it. He looked rough, dirt all over his skin, and his white shirt now a light brown. But what Bucky noticed most was his expression. He looked sad and guilty. Whatever Y/N had just said to him was the cause of it.
“What did you say to her?” Steve asked without looking at him.
Bucky shook his head. “I didn’t say anything.”
Steve’s mouth was in a thin line. “Maybe you should stay away from her.” Bucky may not be the same man he was in the 40s. But Steve still saw remnants of him.
“You don’t trust me anymore around people.” Bucky accused.
“That’s not what I said, Buck.”
I obviously have more to tell. Please favorite/heart/reblog or message me if you want more. <3