1964-05-20 - Men of Noble Character
Summary: And a few rapscallions.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
rogue loki bucky 

"I have often walked…down this street before…" Loki sings softly.

These boots are made for walking… and that's just what they'll do, go-go boots, a short dress, and one hell of a saucy updo. Cue some kind of lyrical beat in Scarlett's head as she makes short work of cutting south through Hell's Kitchen. She should be bothered here, rightly, but the Irish mob still holds a lot of the area by the throat. An auburn-haired girl with bright green eyes and nary a freckle in sight pretty much screams 'Irish,' and even her muted Britannia and Hiberian accent tends to make them happy. She twirls an umbrella over her shoulder, in spite of the rain not quite falling.

Bucky has arrived.

Loki looks up to see Rogue and its been a while. He knows. The pain. Yes. But still, he's expected to see more of the Asgardian ambassador. So, seeing her now slows his steps and he stops his melody. His voice lifts, crafting the syllables and sounds in her voice in a welcoming hail, projecting warmth and roundness. "Scarlett!" His hand lifts as well, palm out, chest high.

The melody reaches her ears, and the dull pang leaves blossoming memories from the broken byways of her mind. Sometimes the grip on reality is less one day than another, and she halts, staring off into the distance and seeing nothing at all. Cacophonous poetry ripples across thoughts, voices whispering, and she pushes her hands through her hair to ease them back to silence. For anyone outside Scarlett's mind, she's just adjusting her pretty hair and the iris blooms buried in the updo. Does one simply shout Loki? Yes. Yes, they do. "Loki!" she replies in kind, turning upon her toes to face the direction of his voice No doubt some magnetic pull is inescapable, and she darts over the pockmarked asphalt to join him. "Such lovely places we find ourselves. Did you know the finest fish and chips are about three blocks that way?"

He hasn't lost that disconcerting trick of just kind of appearing out of a group of passersby. The search hasn't been called off, but the consensus is the wound caught on film wasn't survivalble; even supersoldiers can't survive having half their head spattered on the pavement. He's a dour shadow for the redhead, in that rather ragged coat. Healthier, if not happier, the old wounds faded….the tread of those heavy steeltoes a slower cadence to her lightfooted pace. They're two of the three people who know that James Barnes is alive and not some sort of spectre.

"It sounds terrible. We should go." Loki answers with a faint smile on his thin lips. "I want to know what you have been up to. Certainly…you have not sat alone, hiding, doing nothing. There must be many stories…ahhhhh…you have a follower today." He lifts his hand to point at the Bucky-shadow, confident that the man could sneak up on just about anyone.

Rogue says, "Oh, yes." The bohemienne tilts her head back, the faint blending of citrus-bright neroli and deeper, dreamier iris colluding to melt indigo and marigold on the senses. "Trying to maintain the peace as I can, as such is my unappointed role. Though given the troubles in the world, I seem to have less luck than some." Her hand rises in a wave gently in Bucky's direction, signalling a mutual awareness of the soldier and drawing him in rather than making a motion behind his back to banish him. "And know you shall. Yourself? Drawing no little trouble in the spin of the seasons?""

Presumably that's what she's been doing, among other hobbies. Sheltering one of America's Most Wanted. Bucky's got his hair tied back, longer than ever. Why doesn't he get it cut? Who knows. But he's at Rogue's shoulder in a few strides, nodding at Loki politely. "Hey," he says, quietly. "Not interrupting, am I?" Not so much the Winter Soldier as the Inconvenient Soldier.

"Not interrupting. Scarlett was going to lead to a place for dinner, while we catch up. Fair enough for you to join us, as I am /certainly/ curious what you have been doing with yourself, as well. Besides being dead. Observe…" Loki makes a casual gesture with his hand and in a moment, it shimmers with gold, a sparkle in the air as he carves up something magical, and then tries to direct the magic at Bucky, putting a very light illusion about him. Changes are made to the face, turning him to a dirty blond, with a bigger nose. "Now you can rest easy for an hour or so."

Rogue goes home.

Rogue has left.

"Thank you," says the blond, hoarsely. The voice is still the same. So's the smile, somehow. Rogue excuses herself, and he's left standing, a little awkward. He's never really been alone with the Prince before. "Uh, lead on," he says, falling into step with the Asgardian. "Me? I….really, I've just been hiding out. Mos'ly with the lady you just met. She's a friend. And….well, you guys."

Loki has to remember the place that she suggested, and heads in the general direction. The brunette is a widower tonight, to Avengers missions. "Staying with Scarlett? I get the impression that…she steals peoples' minds. Not to be harmful, but…it does catch me as strange, and…spooky. Just be cautious. There is nothing worse than someone claiming to know you so well."

"I don't know that I'd describe it that way," he says, quietly. "She absorbs them, if I remember right. Doesn't take 'em away utterly. I'm still here, and she's done it to me. Not that that's saying much, considering me and my memories," he allows. "Is she strange? Sure. But….she's kind and she's one of the few real friends I got. One of the people who's friends with the Winter Soldier inasmuch as anyone can be. Your Kai's got the distinction of being the other one. You're heading that way yourself," he notes, patting himself down for that wandering packet of Lucky Strikes. "You've been pretty good to me."

"Is that what matters to you, for calling someone a friend? That they are good to you?" Loki asks curiously, stopping at the end of the block to look left and right. He spots the place, down on the right and turns. "I worry about you. Like…you are dulled. That you haven't…recovered enough to really let yourself feel too much. Hmmm? It took me some time."

"IT's the criteria I've got now," Bucky says, at his side. "I've got others who'd say they're my friends, and they'd mean it….but they were from before. Before the Soldier," Like that's the dividing line in his life, 1945, Bucky and Winter, whole and broken. "And that's who they love. The guy who's only kind of partially there now. I still remember the stuff I was made to do. It's not…neatly compartmentalized. I wish it were, sometimes." He eyes Loki sidelong. "Yeah? What was it like, when you were dead?"

"I did not go where I was supposed to go. Instead, I came to where the spell my former self cast…set me to go. My death was nothing but a blank, to me. I do know where I was in the between time, only that when I woke, I was Serrure…and all I knew was to run a book shop. And in time…things slowly have returned to me. I am curious if I will ever sit in Valhalla…drink a cup with warriors…after a long day of honorable battle. I think, instead, I have a certain…doom…about me. Does that sound familiar? Your former self, people loved. My former self, everyone hates. Well, many hate. It is hard for them to believe that I am a different person, when I look like a ghost. I just avoid those that knew me before, for the most part, except my brother. I am making a new life and those that hold me to the old one…have no business in it." Loki offers his own wisdom on the somewhat similar experience, as he turns into the restaurant.

"Valhalla," That idea pleases him, by the way his eyes light. "Makes me wish that's somewhere my kind could end up," he says, with a funny little smile, wistfulness in his voice. "If only I'd died in battle. Wish I had, sometimes. I…..I….I remember some of it, like a dream. I was in a POW camp, and I was waiting for Steve to go on…" Then he looks at Loki. "Why'd so many hate that old self? That much of an asshole?"

"It is." Loki looks to Bucky and forms near the same smile. "It /is/ possible for you to end up there. All you have to do…is put a faith and trust in Odin. Many humans are there now, filling the halls with their voices. Some of your own old comrads may be there, even. People hate that old self because he took over Asgard and killed many in doing it, and his intentions were evil. I am not the same…and I intend to have a different destiny. I am walking through a second chance…and so are you. What do you want to be?" Loki asks as he settles in towards the back, allowing his back to be to the door so that the assassin can keep an eye on the front.

He slants a look at the Asgardian, as if wondering if Loki's pulling his leg. "Really?" he asks. "That's….well, if the old legends are true, it does make sense." He settles in the given seat, nodding his thanks. "I….you know, I don't know. I want to be so completely gone that the Russians can't ever get me again. I wasn't real happy at being brought back from the dead. I'm tempted just to do it again, for real, finally." He's matter of fact about it, like suicide's just another option on the menu. "But….I won't. I think if I do myself in, I won't end up where I need to be."

"Itt seems like we are one step away from the real answer. You have a design for your…fate, for the end tally of your short, mortal life. So what is it? With someone forever? A particular religious belief?" Loki asks, prodding for the last piece of the puzzle.

He considers, nominally eyeing the menu. "I don't know," he says, bluntly, looking up to meet those green eyes with that pale blue stare. Faded compared to Kai's vividness. "I honestly don't. I don't….want much of anything, other than to not be taken again. I don't even….I'm angry at them, but I don't have any real illusions that one man can do much to that monolith. I…can't even really just disappear, not with that arm. It's too distinctive. I don't have anyone that I want to be with forever, not like that." He looks down at the tablecloth. "There's a lady who….we were involved. But….some of it was a ploy. It was him, making a play. And while he came to care for her, I came to care for her…..it seems poisoned, somehow. Like….even if I were cleared of everything tomorrow, the start of it….there's no future in it." He seems calm about it, even if it's the bleakness of mere nihilism.

Loki looks back at Bucky, seriously, "You could disappear…if you gave up the arm. Its not as if you are the only one to lose an arm. Just…something to think about…what the limits of your sacrifice are. You are, obviously, very hot right now. You need some quiet time."

"I could," he allows. "IF there were a way. It's grafted too deep to be just sawed off - part of my body, not just the shoulder. If I could really get it gone, I'd consider just being an amputee," Bucky's voice is low. "And you're right. I do need time. Thank you again for what you've done for me."

"So…here is what I can do for you. I can sort of…/store/…the spells. So, when you need to go out, you can activate an item and it would disguise you for about an hour. I could give them to you later. Do you think you'd ever want to apply your skills to…doing what Kai does?" Loki asks of the man, curiously, the more he gets to know him.

That makes his eyes go wide. "THat'd be amazing," he breathes, tone almost reverent. "To be able to….to walk around. Not hide. Not be afraid. Doing what Kai does how?"

Delphyne has left.

"He's…an Avenger. That's why he's not here right now. He's off…saving the world. Using his skills. I suppose, though, that's what I mean. Taking all the skills you've learned, and using them for something you'd enjoy. It could mean…being a coach, or…working for the police. The skills you enjoy having, of course." Loki gestures the waiter over and puts in an order for the fish and chips he was promised.

Chicken and chips for him. Bucky lays his hands on the table, an oddly schoolboyish gesture. "I ….my skills are killing people. And a little drawing. I….even aside from being the Soldier, I liked being in the military. I miss it. I miss it a lot. Sometimes that's one of the things that makes me angriest. That something I did that was good in my life, that I felt righteous about, has been corrupted. It's like…going from a lover to being raped."

Loki listens to Bucky explain what its like for him and nods faintly, eyes cutting sideways as he tries to understand, but also not overstep. "I…would suppose that many of those skills used to kill people could still be used in other ways. Like…teaching self defense. I see those flyers around. Or, tracking down lost children. I know not all the things, but you understand the concept I am certain."

Bucky nods, solemnly. The little indent between his brows is wholly him. "That's true. I could teach or train or….something. I think. It's very easy to slip into that wanting, though. Addictive….and that's not wholly the Soldier. I know it. I remember a little bit of how James used to be. How Bucky was. How it felt."

"You cannot join the army again. That…would be near impossible. Too much disguising and the game is too long to play. And you cannot be a gun for hire, because that slope is very slippery. But you /could/ become a /masked/ hero. Someone that helps…someone that trains and fights, in a disguise that they never reveal." Loki smiles faintly. "Something to think about. Though that does not make any money, so…you need a benefactor." And now he winks.

HE sits back in his seat and the grin he gives Loki is just pure mischief, a relic of old days breaking hearts in Brooklyn. "I think I'll wait on that," he says, but there's a distinct twinkle in his eye. "For some day."

"Sure. It takes a while to come up with a good costume. You should have seen…oh…maybe you did actually see Kai's first effort." He plants an elbow on the table and leans, pointing across it at Bucky, "You have a bit of…trickster in you…you know. I recognize that look."

"Takes one to know one?" He replies. The smile remains small, but the eyes are brighter than ever. "I like to think so. Steve was always the utterly straightforward one. We had to be clever, during the war. We were a tiny little force, the Howling Commandos."

"That is what I miss too. I remember my own band. Thor. Fandral. Volstagg. Hogun. Even Sif. I fought with a bow then…we hunted, glory on the mind, defended the realms from threats wherever Heimdal sent us. But now I am the only one that remembers it. More of it each day. I will ever be a trickster, though. I cannot help it. A new band, then." Loki lifts his glass of water to his lips and drinks in a way that is similar to what would follow a toast.

There's a bitter, bitter longing in his face, and a sympathy. As much as broken mortal can ever have sympathy for the warriors of Valhalla….but then a cat can look at a king, as the old rhyme says. And there's something in his face - not Kai's desire or admiration, but something.

Loki sets his drink down and brushes his pale fingertips across the table and casts Bucky a sad smile in return. "Yes. So….exactly." Silvertongue agrees with a casual gesture following. "I am afraid I cannot join Kai's new band, either. Like you."

Bucky makes a rueful little face, and shrugs faintly. There's that rasp of plate over plate. "I need some maintenance," he mutters, irritably. As if his arm were a clunker of acar.

Loki makes a humming sound. "You need a brilliant mechanic that doesn't care who you are." He shakes his head slowly. "I haven't met one yet."

"I can get Kai to help. I can give instruction. I just can't reach everything at the proper angle," he mutters. And then he shakes himself, like a bird settling its feathers. "Sorry. I'm being boring. I should ask more about you."

Loki makes a face. "Apparently you can just /read/ about me in books. Everyone else seems to…and then regurgitates my life as they assume it to have been, at me."

Another little shrug. "I read 'em. But those're stories. That's like….a game of Telephone, I figure. The truth got lost a long time ago, on the way. Right? I liked 'em. Liked you better'n Thor. He always seemed like kind of a bonehead, in the stories." And then an absolutely wicked light comes into his eyes, and his lips seal in the kind of puckish smile that means he's biting back some awful question.

"Even if it were ever true…it is not true for /this/ me. However, certain details remain true and Thor /is/ a bonehead." Loki chuckles.

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