1963-08-15 - Friends Like These
Summary: The Winter Soldier makes a friend and a fight.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: Silversun Pickups - Well Thought Out Twinkles
bucky rogue 

"We've got sixty seconds."

Bucky holds the heavy fire door shut with one hand, casting around, then picks up a piece of rebar near the garage door and drives it into the door with one hand, and stamps it against the concrete with his foot. It serves as an effective doorstop and he backs away from the door warily, then casts his gaze around the garage. Fists hammer on the door and shouts of anger are muffled by the heavy metal.

The building, a former National Guard depot in Chelsea, had been taken over by Humanity First, the zealous anti-mutant human group that had taken over the news so much lately. Bucky, aka Jack Frost, itinerant bum, had infiltrated the building late at night. Why, he didn't say— whether it was to steal or find something, he did not disclose.

His shock at finding the bohemian mutant girl called Scarlett having snuck in /after/ him, though, was a bit comical.

During their quiet, hissed discussion about the perils of such infiltration, they'd been caught by the most unforgiving of circumstances: Bad Luck. A Firster up to get a late-night beer had simply walked in on them and managed to raise a cry of alarm. Beating feet pell-mell they'd fled into the garage area, leaving them secured just for the moment, but surely in trouble once the rest of the paramilitary force rallied and figured out what was going on.

Jack casts his gaze around wildly, then points a finger at a row of motorcycles. "There. How fast can you hotwire one?" he asks of Rogue, running over to the bikes. He picks out a modified Indian with a giant cylinder head block and rips off the wiring panel cover, trying to find the ignition control wires.

Someone hits the steel security door with something heavy— trying to batter it down.


Intel, when she gets it, often tends to be good. How she gets it, that's another matter entirely and not something for civil conversation. He may have shouted at her and faced her grim expression, the burning emerald coals of her eyes in the dark as sure as her voice seethes with conviction: "This place is hot. You have to go."

Not exactly the most persuasive of arguments until trouble shows up in a wife beater and a bad haircut, a permanent scowl marring a face that probably met the wrong side of a fist too many times. Then the matter became less one of a hurried argument to abort whatever plan Jack has, and then sheer survival.

Redheaded bohemians from the Village are not supposed to be able to sneak up on assassins. Nor are they supposed to demonstrate any sort of knowledge involving hot wiring. She stares at him for a moment even as she retreats to the behemoth of a bike, her gloved hands flexing. "There should be an underground access to the sewers twenty yards from here."

No telling how she knows that, either. Maybe it goes with the Barnard College education where girls learn about architecture and art, and some of them get very accomplished at reading and memorizing city planning blueprints in anticipation of a job filing them. Maybe he's also a French mime.

Stilled, she drops to one knee and starts examining the wires. The use of a knife would certainly help. When his back is turned, she rips the resisting metal cords apart like it's nothing, because to her, they really are paper. One tug, she is busy left weaving the ends together and taking a shock in the process. It hardly causes her to do more than hiss under her breath, even as electricity sparks to life.

They also teach sabotage of vehicles at Columbia's liberal arts program. Did you know?


Bucky's about as fast, ripping away the panel and crossing two wires, then tying them together to short the ignition system. "New York sewers— bad idea," he says, shaking his head. "Too many dead ends." The voice of experience, maybe? It's certainly a good place to go for a resounding case of giardia or the like.

He moves to a heavy old duece-and-a-half cargo truck and shorts the ignition, kicking it over with a coughing, angry rattle, and drops a heavy brick on the ignition. He gets it set in first, swinging out of the cab, and just as he leaps away, removes his foot from the clutch pedal. The truck roars to life and leaps out of the garage, knocking down the heavy security gate and rolling across the parking lot to slam into the parking lot gates and knock them down, too.

"Go!" Bucky shouts, dashing to his bike. He leaps atop it, revs the engine, and peels off with so much force that his front wheel doesn't touch the pavement for almost twenty yards of travel.


Scarlett works about as fast as one needs when the next kick to the door leaves a decided dent, the rebar shrieking its protest against disuse. In a war of steel on steel, density makes all the difference in the world. She weighs almost nothing and the amount of force a bike can displace ought to have her at a complete disadvantage. Double the fact she's wearing a dressthank goodness for white nylonsmeans she is utterly unsuited for what is about to happen. Luckily her idea about social and sartorial conventions differs greatly from the rest of the country, for the most part.

A quick jump puts her astride the motorcycle, a punishing back kick to the stand removing the only support present. It's questionable at all if she can handle that much horsepower, even the weight of the bike. At 5'9" or so, the bohemian is tall but her build is lithe rather than Amazonian. Looks can be deceiving. She snaps a look over her shoulder, and then twists her wrist, kicking the needle on a gauge to a near redline. Tucking herself low, she lets all that force carry her forward and the tire bumps off the ground, a hiss of smoke and rubber behind her leaving an acrid trail to stymie those who follow.

He burns ahead, but she's in hot pursuit, swerving around a pile of debris left in front of the building, and kicking it forward for the street. It's not a little like flying and aerial ballets are something of a specialty for a girl who spends a good fifteen percent of her waking hours above the cloud tops.


There's a whoop of engines cranking over and the sound of cars revving. Bucky glances over his shoulder at Scarlett, surprised she can keep up so well, and then spots a pair of motorcycles whipping around the street corner, followed soon after by an old surplus Jeep, and then a massive boat of a Chevy, struggling hard to keep all four tires going the same direction. It's a small convoy of worn out, badly painted vehicles, with a half a dozen furious men visibly carrying a few shotguns, pistols, and at least one dinged-up old M1 carbine that might have seen service in Europe two decades prior.

Bucky grabs the throttle and opens it wide, darting into traffic with a total disregard for safety and a shocking fearlessness as he zips between two parked cars with bare inches to spare, rather than detouring around them, which would be the more conservative path.


In the sideview mirror, the land yacht would normally warrant a carefree laugh. Not quite so much at the moment, when no doubt someone is going to blame her of terrorism. Though how they might when she's a mere polite redhead joyriding on a motorcycle? Her braid snaps behind her, and she clutches onto the handlebars, crouched down low and forward, her knees tucked tight to the body of the bike and heels of her boots planted hard. Her path isn't straight, a luxury she cannot afford with slower moving vehicles and no clear sense of where on earth the janitor of the Stark Industries tower is taking her. The speed is excessive, kicking in with a roar when she pivots around after his path. Apparently Jack Frost has a death wish.

Or this is how mysterious men like to flirt and learn information.

Whatever else, she isn't dumb, rushing headlong into the future with a scrape more care, and it means he opens a distance that doesn't entirely favour the rattle of gunfire behind her. The pistols barely note, the M1 earning a backwards glance. Shotguns are a fair bit harder, all the more because she sweeps left to right in a smooth curve to get out of the way.

There's no point in shouting. No point in honking, either, only warbling a warning to the one fool who thought it was a good idea to cross the street.


The Firsters are at least not firing wildly into traffic, but this is definitely a car chase. Bucky taps the brakes and drops back thirty feet to bring his front tire even with Scarlett's, glancing over his shoulder at the men in hot pursuit. The guy with the M1 is trying to line up shots but he's only taken a few wide-flying plinks at them, the heavy traffic, swerving vehicles and New York's system of treating potholes all conspiriing to keep him from getting a clean shot off.

"There! Left!" Bucky shouts, jabbing a finger at a spot a hundred yards ahead. A pedestrian walkway that turns between two buildings— a very narrow stairway, barely six feet wide and dropping down the differential between the street their on and a parallel road.

He hits the brakes hard enough to leave a J-shaped squeal of rubber on the road and guns it down the stairs, the suspension on the bike rattling protest as he drops fifteen feet down the stairs over the space of about fifty. Standing on the footrests he elevates his hips so the bike doesn't shake him to pieces, and lands on the opposite street with a spray of sparks from the undercarriage scraping concrete.


This is a James Bond movie, or another in the spy genre, except she's on a rocket with wheels instead of a lawnmower converted to a dirt bike. The thrill of adrenaline in the veins does not compensate for the fact what he knows how to do speaks volumes: there are going to be questions. Questions for those moments when they do not end up a convenient smear against the pavement or in a full-body cast in the hospital.

A nod gives indication of her complicity about a change in direction. Punching the brakes, Scarlett differs slightly in how she swings the bike around, getting a foot down on the ground and quite literally using that as a metal axis on which to spin the globe. The back end angles dangerously around in a loop and she barely recovers, clinging to the bars with a white-knuckled grip that should see the vehicle spinning around in a demented figure-8 under an oncoming car. It doesn't. Somehow, that girl keeps /that/ thing up with a measured precision that should be dubious.

Or just fucking lucky. Go with lucky. She gets mostly upright and the behemoth goes plunging for the stairs, shooting past a horrified Ford driver who nearly puts it on the sidewalk. She jumps over the potholes, grimacing as the saddle smacks into her strained thighs, but so be it. When the wheel crests over the first of the risers, she peers down and there goes nothing. There is no elegance about what she does: he has to worry about being shaken to pieces. She's built in a very different way, and going into a handstand or some other ridiculous move that entails showing off and getting shot. Nope. She braces her knees into a stiffened apex, folded forward from the hips, and down they go, machine and woman.

Pity he doesn't speak French or he might know if those are profanities or sounds of joy.


Bucky leads them on a double-back, then down a dead end towards an alley just big enough for a pair of bikes, then takes another looping reverse through construction, nimbly weaving through city vehcles and the surprised, angry yells of city workers. He doesn't stop until they've put a couple miles between them and the pursuers, having quite effectively lost them in the switchbacks and false turns. He drives through New York like he's got a map of the city in front of him that's been filled out by everyone who knows every shortcut home.

They pull into an empty parking lot overgrown with weeds and abandoned cars on blocks, and Bucky drops his kickstand and walks back towards Rogue with an odd, angry look on his craggy features.

"What the hell was that?" he demands of the woman atop the other bike. "How did you find me— why did you follow me into there? They could have shot you, or killed you— or worse!"

"Worse than being shot dead?" There are things that imagination and experience supply. Scarlett does not answer to either of these. "The place was rigged, didn't you hear me? It's been under surveillance, someone is just waiting for who knows what to mosey in." Her tight features show a measure of unease, and her hair is windblown into a halo of radiant curls, including the shock of frost white she usually keeps hidden. The way her hair is braided does that fairly well, but the strands are still present. She sits back on the bike, massaging her lower back and the protesting muscles that hurt a fair bit. Miles on miles of riding at speed still has a toll, even if you're damn near indestructible.

"Forgive me for interfering, maybe you knew all along, but that and two warehouses over near the Meatpacking District have basically been glowing targets for two or three days. That's what they say, anyways." Her shoulders roll and fall back, and she glares right back at him, witchfire eyes smoldering a shade of green usually witnessed on masts of a ship in a storm, mid-sea. "Forgive me if I didn't happen to catch you fast enough to drop a letter or a telegram. You tend to be hard to find."


"Knew they were watching. Had to get inside anyway," Bucky grunts, shaking his head and stepping away a pace to get control of his considerable ire. "Local chapter here but they talk to other groups. There's a Senator from upstate who is giving the money. Maybe law enforcement support too. Saw at least one cop's uniform in a locker. Wanted to know if they had a list."

He digs in his pocket and comes up with a small ledger, wiggling it once at Scarlett. "Not complete. But names— numbers. Addresses. Might be someone in here who is helping these guys. Want to talk to him personally." And offer him KGB assets and funding, perhaps? The ways of the Soviets are devious and subtle.

"Was worth the risk for me, but not for you," he chides her, tucking the ledger in his pocket. "Girl like you shouldn't be sneaking around place like that. It's… just not safe," he says, with a stubborn patriarchal intransigence.


The ways of bohemians are not. Not subtle, not devious, and not about to back down. Her backbone has something in common with that hussy from Atlanta happy just to watch the city burn, if it served her pretty curled head. The redhead draws in a breath rather than unleashing a tart salvo, instead facing a different kind of danger. "Yes, and had you considered they had turncoats answering to another authority?" That's all she needs to leave as that pin drops into the conversation. If he has, great, they went on a fantastic bike ride.

The kick of her leg over the back of the bike leaves her standing, creaky but on her own two feet. "I get to decide the risks I am willing to take. Sorry for interrupting your… thing," a hand is woven as words fail her, an excellent indicator of her emotional state. "I wasn't sneaking. Were I, you would not have seen me, surely? And maybe you've noticed the world stopped being a safe place a billion years ago. Maybe longer."


"Don't be stupid," Bucky snaps at Rogue. "There's unsafe and there's dangerous. This? Was dangerous. And reckless," he admonishes her. "There are things happening that are way over your head." As his ire rises, a bit of a Brooklyn inflection slips out of his normal glacial cadences.

He turns and kicks his bike in frustration, and the swing of his foot knocks the bike two feet sideways despite the kickstand's presence, back to Rogue as he composes himself.

"Is this gonna be a regular thing, then? You following me around?" he asks her, turning to look at the bohemian redhead with the frosty highlights. "Because I'm not just doing this for my health. There's a war coming," he admonishes her. "People are gonna die. Firsters are dead set on making sure that the mutants get killed before they take this country over. I'm not going to let that happen," he says, lying smoothly. "But I can't do that and watch your ass for you at the same time."


He knocks over a bike and she jerks back a step, crossing her arms over her chest. The tendency for her hands to rise up towards her shoulders is aborted, long fingers skimming up and down over the meat of her biceps. Dented craters fan across her flesh, a marking of a comet smashing into the surface in such fine arching arrays. "Why do you do it?" A flat out question, there, pours out through her bitten lips. "I can tell you have been through something catastrophic, something horrendous. It brings you to doing this, doesn't it? But why?"

Her bosom heaves as she pulls in a breath and lets it go, released. Theirs is a constant state of chaos, an agency promoted this time by her own activity and there will be no denial of her actions. The storm in the streets brewed up by him was given direction by her, unleashed in a snap when her presence tested the elasticity of a situation too far. Maybe. Maybe not."You never say why. I can live with it. I can live with a great many things, but walking into the fire and waving your arms around like you want someone to drop a missile on you hardly inspires a sense I should sit nicely on the side lines with my hands over my ears, singing to drown out the sound of the fire. Or is that how they do it where you're from? Do you want me to sit in a room and pretend nothing is happening, and let you dangle from a noose when I know I could cut the rope or stop it from being around your neck in the first place? And you aren't watching my ass for me, you're watching Stark's girl's. Or someone's. But not mine. "


"I want you to be safe!" Bucky blurts out, face turning a ruddy, dark hue with poorly expressed anger. He stares across the moment at Rogue, realizing he's perhaps let a bit more of himself show than he'd prefer, and his eyes finally drop away from the bohemian girl.

"Neither of us are who we thought we were," he tells her, finally, his tone a bit worn and flat. "You're not 'just' a hippy flower-girl, and I'm not a guy living under a bridge cozying up to a bottle of bourbon. I've got my reasons," he tells her, shaking his head. "Things need doing. People need saving, and this is the best way to keep everyone safe." Technically true, at least from a Soviet perspective.

"You're wrong, though," he says, picking up his bike and righting it with little effort. "I am watching your ass. You're… well. You're the only friend I've got," he mutters, darkly. He looks at Rogue, weighing his options, then shakes his head and swings onto the bike's saddle.

"I've got a job to do. If I can't get you out of my way, then I might as well ask you to help me. Come to the docks tonight," he tells her, hands resting on the throttle. "I'll explain everything then. And you can decide if I'm still someone you want to be around." He kicks the throttle, the bike roaring to life, and rattles off with a barking cough from the exhaust.

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