1964-06-29 - There's Something About Bucky
Summary: Is he HAPPY? Could this be a dream?
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bucky rogue 

Of all the places one doesn't expect to find the Soldier, or the haggard hybrid that isn't quite Winter and isn't quite, entirely, James….this has to be high on the list. To celebrate his paycheck, whatever its degree of legitimacy….they're here. IT's been decades since Bucky's seen it. He's walking at Rogue's side, a long-sleeved workshirt over a t-shirt, dark jeans, those battered boots. His hair's pulled back into a knot at his nape - gotta do something with it, as it gets longer. "Smells like lavender," he says, raising his head to sniff the air. "I know there's a garden in one of these courts."

The Met's a place Scarlett spends time at, but truly she wastes her hours away in Cloisters. Ask her where to walk and she might give a dozen answers, pacing around the 12th century building recreated with ironic accuracy on the shores of New York City rather than some distant hideaway. In that hour, quiet as they come, Scarlett is a good companion for all the glories of man's arts and skill. He speaks of flowers and she nods, her own hair starred by flowers almost never seen this far south: campion, rambling windflowers, heaths from the high arctic. "Mm. Yes, lavender beds are stunning when the summer comes. Follow the drowsy bees. I want to see Provence one day. They have whole seas of purple laid out in geometric configurations from above," she murmurs dreamily.

"I was in Provence, once," he admits. And he sounds almost as dreamy as she does. Pleasant memories, when they come…they're like good dreams, to be savored. "We were working with the Resistance, getting ready for Operation Dragoon. LAte summer, so all the stuff they grow there for perfume was in bloom. Lavender, jasmine, roses…." His metal hand, gloved in leather, seeks her. No risk of real touch, but it can provide the illusion that they're just a pair rambling together.

"The south of France holds many positive memories. I spent more time to Paris," says the redhead, maneuvering in an easy path through the promenade. With her hair all but a bouquet, no doubt she might be mistaken for some medieval maiden in a scandalously short dress and high boots. "Operation Dragoon. Truly? I think that was… no, I was probably born by then. I think." She shakes her head, the matter of doubt one Scarlett addresses freely enough. "You had the true benefit of jasmine, to be sure." Bucky reaching for her hand stills her; any contact does, but she offers that after a moment's pause, the smile on her face sunshine in the summer.

He smiles at that. A softer version of that old incandescent grin, but bright enough. For a moment, he looks like the young man who took rampaging through France with the Resistance as if it were some kind of game. "True benefit?" he asks. "And Dragoon was late 44, after Overlord."

"True benefit to have done something good for those in need. Experienced France in a dire hour whilst you contributed to its wellbeing," says Scarlett. Her voice flows around the edges of a softness usually attibuted to hushed conversation, though she's well aware of the sonic qualities of the building they are in. Better to praise the Lord, all those acoustic surfaces have a way of banishing and dispelling silence. "Or you could tramp through the flowers without feeling too terrible about that. I never have the chance."

He considers that, the smile still teasing the corners of his mouth. "Yeah. I remember, we were hiding out once in this perfumery. A place where they distilled jasmine flowers in to the stuff they actually used for perfume. Steve stepped on a knocked over bottle of it. You could smell him coming for weeks - he didn't have another pair of boots, and it got all over 'em. We all smelled pretty great for a while, honestly. Had to sleep in a lavender field once, while we were waiting for an ambush."

"Tell me more about that. You hid in a perfume garden, a distillery?" Her eyes widen slightly and the phosphorescent green kicks up a notch. Radiant hues balance on the edges of reality, the surreal tamed but briefly by her dark lashes. "I should collect a bottle of that and see what his reaction is. He might well have a story to collaborate that. I see him now and then, over there. Though neither of us has much pleasant to say with regards to fumes and gasses."

"Yeah," he says, that light still in his face, as they wander under the roof of the cloister. "We were in Grasse, there to kidnap a particular HYDRA scientist we'd been chasing. They'd been taking a lot of the lab stuff that the more scientifically oriented places used - commandeering it to use in whipping up chemical weapons." A rueful little downturn, at that. "Turn something beautiful into something ugly, always the HYDRA way. We damn near got caught by a patrol - someone'd ratted us out to the local Germans.So, we were hiding in one that'd already been rummaged and wrecked. Then there's this crunch of glass, someone swears, and all of a sudden there is this overwhelming smell of jasmine."

The wrinkle of her nose calculates the possible response. "HYDRA. The typical nasty organization or something terrible beyond reckoning? I should learn more about terrestrial problems from time to time." Scarlett's query dips down into an assignation of rue fully hers to harvest, and that of the garden they come upon. The others walking past them have no reason for a double take, hopefully, unless willing to peer at an assassin far too closely. He would have a better advantage wearing her very large, round hat that is the pride of Saturn and only marginally smaller than its rings. "Seeds grow back, you know. Some species thrive on disturbed soil, in fact."

"The former. They were a faction woven into the Nazis…..mad science, black occultism, all the stuff of nightmare," he says, softly. The smile's gone, the light in his face faded. "They had me for a while - that's why I was revivable by the Soviets. Even before they got me, the Germans'd tried to turn me into something like Steve." She's far more striking than he is - the hair just looks slicked back, at first glance. And who would believe a wanted criminal's bold enough to wander the museum's halls? He nods at that. "Some do. Some even require fire to sprout."

"Black occultism in the Nazis. Ah, yes, they had an unhealthy amount of that buried throughout their history." Scarlett offers a terse, tense smile holding no warmth to kindle in those impossibly bright eyes of hers. The weight of her gaze lands on Bucky's shoulders and affixes the assassin with a measure of compassion. "Those who cross its path seem much harmed for it. Almost all of them. Not that I exonerate every last individual fallen under the spectre of a dubious organization for their actions, but many do. Call it a case of redetermination, rather than outright blame…" She squeezes the metal hand with just enough pressure present in her own, always restrained and harbouring the greatest care, something that might make the joints groan a little. "Lodgepole pines are pretty damn explosive, all said and done."

"YEah, they did," he says, on a sigh. "And you're right. A spreading corruption. Thank God they're gone." Oh, Bucky. If you only knew." The squeezing of his hand makes him grin at her. "What's that about pines?"

"Lodgepole pines propagate through forest fires, preferably by exploding. The heat helps them spread their cones, which apparently like the soil of a fresh fire because of the nutrients and abundance of fertility brought about by the ash." It's necessary to explain that neat feature of the western ranges of the Cordillera, and the habit of a certain tree, though Scarlett evinces no reason why she holds any understanding whatsoever about the topic. It's merely there, imprinted with the rest of the knowledge locked up in that pretty skull. "You are happy here, though. It suits you."

He cants his head at that. "It reminds me of good things, good memories. The more of those I can bring to mind, the better I am at fending off the dark stuff. I was a pretty happy guy, once upon a time," he notes, sounding almost surprised at himself. "I was. I had a pretty good life as a young man."

Laughter follows, shrouded and sweet, as they make their third or fourth circuit around the planted beds in their ancient forms. "I think you can be happy now, and you still enjoy the appearance of youth. Certainly you hold an advantage there that half the country would be envious of, and the other half too shy to admit the fact they wish whatever kept your boyish good looks in place was something served on the dinner table or in a pharmacy." Easy for her to dispense that notion and insight upon Bucky; let him lavish and chew on that. "You aren't so truly destitute here. Friends. A purpose. A hell of a best friend."

"I still am good-looking," he allows, with a little cheerful self-mockery. "And….I think I'm learning to. Once we get Kai out of the pickle he's in….and I have help there…" A sigh, but he doesn't darken back to despair again. "Yeah. It's hard to feel safe. But maybe I can be again."

"Safety is something of an illusion. Absolutely safety cannot exist for the very rigors of life define us," murmurs the young woman for whom barriers of life and death may be somewhat porous, and the other realms, certainly so. Allowed to expound into philosophical depths, Scarlett can conjure pretty unusual definitions when called for. She pushes her fingers through the clipped box hedges enfolding the garden. "The best we can achieve, I think, is a mixture of confidence whatever life presents, we can handle, and acceptance of a certain degree of risk."

He makes a gesture with the ungloved hand, conceding the point. "True. But there has to be somewhere to rest, you know? Where you don't feel hunted. I've been lucky in finding places. Yours, Kai's….and to feel I have friends at my back, that it's not just me and my lack of memories and the Russians…."

"You have the right of it. Hence, risk. Keep your home in a given place. Maintain a routine. Be normal as you can, right?" The soft frisson of laughter is gentle, established as a sound that belongs in a conversation of a kind. Scarlett settles at a bench, dropping down onto it and stretching her legs out in front of her. "Some of your memories exist. I should see whether they can ever be gifted back."

That hadn't occurred to him, clearly. He stands for a moment, gobsmacked…..a bumble bee, astray from foraging the lavender and herbs, actually bumps into his cheek and then goes blundering off again. "…..I hadn't thought of that, at all. I mean, I have so many back now….but…." He blushes. Jesus, does she remember the things he did with that girl in Paris, the one who worked in the patisserie and had an excess of chocolate syrup and a very active imagination?

The faint traces of a smile linger there, though not the desired explanation, possibly. She tends not to speak of her abilities, or rather the downside to the cursed nature inflicted on a pretty redhead by the powers that be. Posture settled into a neat upright line whilst she perches on the bench, Scarlett tilts her head back and gazes at Bucky in all his shocked glory. "What, that you may have access to everything all along? Therein lies a certain possibility. There is, also, potential that you may well be able to thieve from me, but."

Bucky gazes down at her, lips faintly parted for a moment. "Yeah," he allows, after a few beats. "I…..that's a hell of a possibility," he says. Then he's gazing past her at the garden, thoughtful for a moment. Someone's been carrying a copy of so much of what was stolen from him.

Someone /is/ the copy of him down to the genetic structure, in a sense, whenever a touch is renewed. That he might not realize that is a blessing. That she already holds the saved upload, of a sort, is a fact not entirely lost. "Psychological exploration is probably a better path, James. There is more stability for a start, and you may be able to counteract anything done." A hesitation on her part; the flick of her fingers along the bench betrays how much harm they could possibly do. "Mine's one option. Though possibly a comfort, I hope, and a gift I will freely offer if it's safe to do so."

"Thanks," he says, offering a shyer smile than is his wont. "And yeah, you're right." Aware of some of the risk….and there are paths he can take that are, if not easier, more likely less dangerous. "Wanna go get a lemonade?" he asks, after a beat, holding out his gloved hand to her.

The need to sit basking in a garden full of herbals and simples could last all afternoon into the late evening. Scarlett truly has an affection for gardens, albeit in this case, other wants prevail over the necessity to forget where her footing in history lies. One quick wriggle of her shoulders frees strands of her flower-adorned hair from her shoulders, the white and pink displays of arctic flowers caught in a frame of fire and cooling shadows. She then glances to Bucky's extended hand and places her own in the brace of his fingers, allowing his grip to settle upon her rather than pulling him down. Not that it would be something she considers, but still.

"I'd like that. Lemonade is refreshing and they probably have some kind of antique machine that squeezes them like they pulped heretic witches," she notes with the dry, horrid humour cursed in the need to laugh.

"You're weird, but I like you," Bucky's voice is almost sunny. He tugs her to her feet, gently. There's appreciation in his face. He's spending a pleasant afternoon with a pretty girl. It's been a while since that happened, and may be longer yet until he does again. "'m buying," he adds.

"I should hope so. We have enough in common," Scarlett replies airily, the merriment and the fact he seems to be in a positive mood does not go unnoticed. Securing her big round hat in place again, she allows him to meander through the varied halls and byways of the Met. No one asked her to fly away with Bucky, thus she does not. Attention drawn to them is not always the ideal route to go.

The beautiful artifacts in the museum beckon to her, Madonnas and glorious charms spun from clay, ivory, amber, and gold. They can be forgotten for the moment. "You are sure?"

"Yeah," he says, simply. There's a cafe in one of the courtyards. Lemonade for both of them, the cashier peering at them narrowly. Well, they are oddities, in their own ways. Then Buck's handing off hers, and heading for an empty table.

The cafe is easy to find, and populated by the usual mix of souls. Young children being dragged along by their parents, perhaps much more interested in knightly suits of armour and huge axes.

Students out for the summer looking ways to fill up the endless hours between now and the first day of their next classes.

Elderly folks walking alongside the relics of another age, remembering the travels reported by their boys gone overseas or maybe if they went themselves. Some are the wealthy lunching set, happy to talk about the latest endowment, and others haven't ever been further than the city limits.

Assassin and soul-thief, like there is nothing at all strange about their presence; Avenger and hidden agent; so many descriptions. The rich biota in the museum permits a fascinating subsection of humanity, something to watch from on far. Scarlett is never unawares of her surroundings, much of the times, and she takes her drink, following after him to that table. "Do you still consider running off to the Golden City forever and a day?"

Of course he's chosen the one where he's got an unobstructed view of all the entrances and exits. Some habits won't ever die, period. But at that question, his attention's all on her. "….the Golden City?" he asks, momentarily blank. Is that something that resides in one of those lacunae of memory? Entirely possible.

"Where your friend's boyfriend came from. You know, big city with a grumpy mayor." Might as well use terms that the casual eavesdropper isn't going to know. The bohemienne is rarely given to risking the possibility of being understood in such a fashion, especially when she has no idea of whom else might be around. She rests her elbow upon the tabletop and leans into it, arching her eyebrows at Bucky.

"I sure do," he says, once he gets it. "I keep getting told that they don't allow people from down here up there. I dunno how much truth I'm getting - the guy who did tell me originally is kind of famed for being misleading, and I'm just as much a sucker as anyone else. Little late, though, considering I signed on." He spreads his hands - careful to make sure there's no gleam of metal at his wrist.

Rogue wets her lips with the lemonade, a sip allowing the citrus sourness to infuse her palate with its richness. She inhales slowly to better saturate the sunny brightness of the fruit without too much sugar coming through. "I am one of two humans, the doctor not included, who have been there in living memory. Or multiple generations of ours. Not entirely certain." She taps her fingers slightly and reaches out to tug the Winter Soldier's sleeve down. Proof she, too, keeps an eye out for him. "I've a little more tolerance for illusions. It exists. Truth be told, I would love an all-access pass."

"Well, if we can get there….especially when we can get my friend out of the trouble he's in…." A shadow across his face at that. Even knowing what the dark elves are like, he's blaming himself. That burden the Russians never bothered to take from him.

The redhead pokes him lightly with a slender finger. She can still pack a fair bit of force in that much, a simple touch pressing into the heartlines of a situation. "Life will come around. All things clear up in the end. After all, we've the prince back and that counts for something." Just what, she doesn't know yet.

He grins at her, again. "The eternal optimist. That's okay. I need those around me….between you and Steve…besides, I'm better off than I have been. No one has me captive now."

"No, I am somewhat different than that. I refuse to look entirely on matters negatively or else the blows I've taken over the last year would have put me under." Those brilliant green eyes betray shadows moving as clouds throw their outlines upon the sea, though no ocean remotely approaches the luminous emerald embodied in those terribly deep auroral pools. Scarlett's gaze is brighter than some takes on the northern lights. "We must carry on the best we can. Though in this respect, you are right. Being free of captivity counts for something. Very much." She dreamily hums a stanza or two. "Imagine being held for years for the safety of all. I can scarce countenance it."

No point telling she dreams of it every night.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License