1964-06-15 - Bucky and Saint Steve of the Shield
Summary: Bucky finally catches up with Steve
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bucky steve-rogers 

Tempting as it might be to show up in the Avengers' clubhouse….that's a one way ticket to yet another round in federal custody. And rather than make yet another group of Feds look like the Keystone Kops, James Buchanan Barnes has elected to be kind…..and not suicidal.

So Steve's out running, because even for supersoldiers, training never fails to be important…..though it's when he's slowed to a walk for the cooldown that there are steps in time with his….and those steel-toed jump boots, rather than sneakers. Bucky's only in sweats and a long-sleeve t-shirt and glove, his concession to concealing what he is. First glance, he's just another guy walking with a friend at the end of a workout. No greeting, no explanations. Just there. But….alive, at least.

It's been a hell of a couple of days. The Bucky sighting in Australia sent Steve on a wild goose chase halfway across the world. Granted, it was some good time to get to know Sharon Carter a bit better, but the trip was fruitless in its true mission. Bucky had been nowhere to be found.

Once Bucky approaches him, Steve double-takes. Once the realization occurs, his eyes go wide and he stops abruptly. He reaches out his arm to clasp his friend on the shoulder. "Is it really you?" he asks, wanting to believe it.

The arm under Steve's hand doesn't yield like human muscle - metal, despite those contours. His expression is even more like that of a beaten dog….andhe doesn't look well. Thinner than he has been, thinner than he should be, with dark hollows at his eyes, and an unpleasant pallor. "Yeah, Steve," he says, voice a rasp. "It's me." Tentatively, he rests a hand over Steve's, squeezes gently.

"How?" Steve asks, unable to pull his hand away at first, and unable to fully get the sentence out. It was one thing when it was Bucky and he was under the spell of HYDRA, the Nazis, the USSR, or whoever. But to have him dead? That was more than Steve realized he could bear.

It's been a long few weeks. "I was dead," he says, simply, flatly. "I really was. Ava shot me in the face." And he turns around to fingercomb that long brown hair out of the way enough to expose a patch on the back that seems to've been shaved close, the hair not much more than a dark stubble. "That's the exit wound. The guys who came for me were mutant terrorists who wanted to trade me to what I'm betting was a pro-mutant front for the Soviets…in exchange for explosives. One of them brought me back from the dead."

Just thinking about it brings on those junkie shakes - he's trembling like it's freezing out. Not that he seems to notice. "I woke up on a shower curtain in an apartment. When I realized what they wanted, I escaped. I was hiding out in the city….and to make matters worse, these….these creatures from another realm caught me, and my friend, Kai. They….I've heard 'em called dark elves. Kai they tortured, me they turned into some kind of dog monster. They had me hunt him down, like it was some kind of game….I….I think I killed him. But when I did, they dumped me out in that show. I was in Australia for real. Someone else brought me back here…..so here I am," he finishes, lamely.

Steve winces as he mentions Ava and getting shot in the face. "If you're going to go—the face. Really, Ava?" He listens to Bucky's details with lamentation, not really sure of what to say. But when Buck mentions Kai, Steve's face turns concerned. He hasn't heard from Kai for a few days. "Elvish looking guy. Bout yay tall?" Steve holds his hand up. "Kai's dead?"

His face falls. "Yeah. He's another kind of elf, and he's my friend. You know him, too?" HE nods, and there are tears in his eyes. "I think so. I ….didn't see. They have healers, the dark elves, but….either he's dead, or he's trapped there."

Steve nods faintly, with a far away look in his eye. "Yeah, I know him. He's a friend, and an Avenger. We need to get the team together and go after him." The blonde tilts his head at him, "Do you know how we can get there?"

Bucky spreads his hands, shakes his head. "Not a clue. Uh, do you know Doctor Strange? The, uh, the sorcerer? He seemed to know what I was talking about. Maybe he'd know how?"

Steve gives a shake of his head, "I don't know a Doctor Strange, no. To be honest, I don't really know any sorcerers. That being said, if we could find him, maybe he could help us find Kai." How in the hell does one find a sorcerer anyways? "I'll put out a call to the Avengers and see if anyone knows how to get a hold of him."

"I don't know how to reach him," Buck says, miserably. "I owe him a lot, he's helped me out. He's the guy who dumped me back in the SHIELD cell, that time. But someone's gotta know, he's apparently like….wizard head honcho, or something."

Steve nods, "Whoever he is, we'll find him. I promise." He sighs and takes a minute to look at Bucky again, as if to make sure that his eyes aren't deceiving him. "You need some place to stay?"

Bucky pauses a beat. "I…have one. Sorta. But…..you got somewhere I could use?" He sounds almost shy. He's clean and shaved, not grubby, but…..so exhausted, it's clear.

"I don't think the mansion would probably be the best spot. I can spring for a hotel, or I can talk to Tony. He could probably put you up." Given Tony's history with Bucky, and given Pepper's history with Bucky, that may not be he best idea. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

About that. "I don't think I'm on Tony Stark's Christmas list," Bucky points out, drily. "Pepper was sweet on me for a while, because that woman has more heart than sense. I….I've broken a lot of Stark's stuff and caused chaos on his properties. I trust you not to rat me out, Steve. Stark, no. Better save it, Steve. You're gonna need deniability when it comes to me."

"I'll talk to Rogue, then. She seems like she knows quite a few folks on the underground. She may be our best bet to keep you well hidden." Steve is apparently not going to give up just because Bucky doesn't like the Pepper idea. "She's a pretty special lady," he says absently.

There's a funny little smile that appears at the mention of Rogue. "Girl named Scarlett, red-head?" he ventures, slowly. But his eyes have brightened. "Yeah, Pepper's amazing. Tony doesn't deserve her."

"You know her too?" Steve asks, shaking his head at the smallness of the world. "How many people on this planet /don't/ know you're alive? I'm always the last one to know everything. I went to Australia for you."

Bucky's lips thin out. "I'm sorry, Steve," he says, roughly. And now it's his t urn to reach out to clasp his friend's arm. "I didn't know. I got offered a way back here and I took it. Sorry about the wild goose chase. ….not many do. You. Strange. K-Kai, if he's still alive. I….I had to kill the mutant kid to get away. I hope his friends think the Russians did it and stole my body, but….they might. The Russians do, now, I bet." He deflates, as he speaks. "And there was that news article. The question is how many people believe it."

Steve lets out a heavy sigh and shakes his head, "It's not your fault. None of this has been. You've been through more than anyone I've ever met. One final push and maybe we get you out of all of this for good. You'd deserve that."

Instinct preaches blind trust in Saint Steven of the Shield. Bitter experience is there in the congregation to sneer that idea into silence. Bucky looks very dubious. "I don't know about 'deserve'. But….how do you think that's gonna happen, Steve?"

Steve gets that familiar far away look in his eye. "I haven't figured that out, yet."

There's the old, wry smile. "Gonna sew your parachute on the way down, as usual?" he prods, but it's teasing, ratherthan bitter. Steve is also a member of the cult of Saint Steven, apparently.

Steve grins and looks sideways towards his friend, "Well, it's different these days. Now I usually don't use a parachute." He gives him a wink and an upwards nod toward the diner across the street. "Come on, let's go get something to eat."

He wants to argue….but….emotion overrides sense. James is definitely driving, rather than Winter. He falls into step with Steve, nodding. It's like old times. Really old times.

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