When I was just a little girl, / I asked my mother, “What will I be?

I’m not totally sure why this particular rendering of Natasha makes my brain go “THIS IS WHAT RIKKI COULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE IF SHE WAS ALLOWED TO GROW UP” but… it does.

(Captain America #615: “It’s Never Sunny in Philadelphia” | Captain America [2004] #27)

Okay but imagine when Winter Soldier keeps going to the Smithsonian to look at things, he sees this girl who’s there all the time too. He notices be cause practically everyone gravitates to the Cap displays, but she keeps coming over to look at Bucky Barnes.

More importantly, even though he’s done his best to be subtle, somehow she recognizes him.

“You’re here a lot, aren’t you?” she asks. “You like Bucky too?” and he shrugs.

“He’s my uncle,” she tells him. “Well, my great uncle. He was my grandma’s brother. She always tells us about the time they had to do chores but he didn’t want to so he convinced her-”

“Hey!” a woman calls, coming over from in front of another display. “Stop bothering that poor man, we have to go.”

“But he’s interested in Uncle Bucky too!” she says. “Everyone should know about Bucky, Grandma says.”

The woman has that half-proud, half-apologetic smile parents have about their kids sometimes. “I’m sorry,” the woman says, “she’s just very enthusiastic. She dresses up as Bucky for Halloween every year.”

“Well, Captain America is back now,” the little girl says stubbornly. “He’s going to need a Bucky. And I’m right here.”

The woman laughs. “Well, come on then, Little Bucky. We have to go pick up your brother from school.”

And that’s how Rikki Barnes gets introduced to the MCU.