1964-08-16 - Everyone Loves Books
Summary: Bucky's shopping for books… wow, who else might be there?
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carol-danvers bucky 

It's not a library, one needn't be so quiet. But it's peaceful, anyhow. And while the closeness of the stacks might make him uneasy - hard to see who might be sneaking up on you - there's something comforting about the smell of books. He's dressed to cover the metal arm, and his hair is knotted neatly back….and in the crook of his left, he's got an array of classics in paperback. Huck Finn, Treasure Island, the Three Musketeers, the Call of the Wild. Really, he should have a basket. To all appearances, he's just browsing, lazily.

There's a voice that comes up from behind Bucky at that, "Hey, didn't expect to see you here." And there's Carol, dressed in civilian clothes as she has a basket under her arm, a few books placed in there as she smiles over towards James, tilting her head slightly. "Don't worry, I'm not keeping an eye on you. Just thought I'd do a little shopping."

"I don't mind if you are," he says, with one of those little smiles. "God knows I'm paranoid enough." He looks at the basket, "Where'd you find that? I think I might need one myself." He looks pale and tired, but better. Freedom suits him just fine.

Carol smiles, "Well, unless you get a lot more, I'm more than happy to share." She extends her basket towards him, "And nope, I actually am off duty right now. But I haven't had a chance to buy any books lately, and there've been some really good ones coming out lately. Guess people don't quite expect that of me."

"What, that you can read?" he retorts, eyes suddenly impish. "I don't know what's new that's good. I thought I'd get some of the old ones that I remember, that I used to read to Steve." …..he read bedtime stories to Captain Rogers?

Carol blinks, "Wait whoa wait… you read bedtime stories to Steve?" She grins really wide at that, as if she realizes… the dirt. She can… she can…

She can have it ALL. And then she smiles, "Well, if you ever want to talk about the old days, I'm a great listener, James. But well, a woman? Reading? Most men around here seem to think I'm one step away from being a witch."

"Yeah," Bucky says. "I mean, not little kid stories." He indicates the armful he's carrying. "I met him in grade school, and his health was awful. I swear, I wasn't sure he'd live to graduate high school. You name it, he caught it. So, when he was too sick to go to school, I'd bring the work home. We'd do it together - I'd probably've failed more than one class if it weren't for having to pass on what I'd learned. Steve was really smart. Is really smart, when he's not doing dumb things like jumping out of planes. So we'd work together. But sometimes, if it was like…English homework, he'd have a headache so bad he couldn't read. So I'd read to him. Sometimes it was just for fun, when he was too tired or sick to do other stuff."

Carol smiles, "Oh, well, that's really sweet of you to do. I knew you were friends from the War and all, but I had no idea you were that close." She looks curiously at Bucky, "Steve is pretty smart, and he only seems to have gotten smarter." With that, she looks around, "Actually, I have one book in here that I'd want you to read. You might be able to relate to it somewhat. Friend of mine suggested it to me, and well, I loved it."

"You didn't know Steve when he was a kid, he pulled some really dumb stuff," he notes. "HE used to get in fights alllll the time. And of course, he weighed like fifty pounds, so I'd have to wade in and help him." Bucky shrugs, and there's that slitherof metal. "Yeah? What book?" he asks, craning his neck to peer into the basket.

Carol grins and fishes out a hard copy of Lord of the Rings, "This one. Think it came out when… well, you wouldn't be interested in it at the time, I bet." She doesn't look that much different than she did a decade ago, if he even remembered her temporary teamup with the Soldier.

It makes his brow furrow, as he turns it over. "I know this author. He wrote the Hobbit. I read that when….the last time I was, uh, staying with our mutual friend." Someone brought him a paperback. "This is more of the story? Looks like a hell of a lot more."

Carol laughs, "Yeah, three books in one, there. It's hard finding a collected version. But it's really great reading. I… ah, might have quoted a little bit of it when we were in Niflheim." And inadvertently flirted with Hela and freaked out both Thor AND Loki…

"Huh," he says. "Where'd you find it?" Bucky wonders, looking up and handing it back. "I'd like something long to keep me absorbed. This sounds like it." And then there's that soberness in his face. "I'd read it to the new arrival, but I don't think he'd appreciate it."

Carol nods, "Not yet, anyway. But it will definitely keep you enraptured. It's definitely something else." She hmms, and looks at Bucky, "Is he awake yet at all, I haven't had a chance to check in on him." Between being an Avenger and being active duty at SHIELD, time is a hard thing to come by.

"I've met him," he says, softly. "He was unsedated long enough for me to. Phil let me in to see him. It's like…." Buck trails off, trying to find the words. "He doesn't really understand that he's an individual. He doesn't seem to have a name or even a number. He wasn't surprised to see me because he's been seeing guys like me all his life, you know? He just assumed I was one of them that'd gotten taken. It was weird. I don't know how to help him. I mean, he's had no life outside of them, and they're monsters. For me, being the Soldier was the overlay, like a mask I could take off or break. For him, what else is there?"

Carol shakes her head, "I don't know. The fact that they created these… copies, and just have them like machines, automatons. It's monstrous." She winces at the thought, then places a hand on Bucky's shoulder, squeezing lightly, "Glad I got us out of there when I did." And she sounds like she means it, since the last thing she wanted was for James to go back to that Hell.

His eyes are wide, as he looks at her. "It's awful. And you know what's worse? He's mine. They're mine. If they really are clones and not just some kind of synthetic copies, they're all my brothers. IT's not just the programming, that's walled off and defunct. Gut instinct. I knew it when I was with him." He takes a deep, shaky breath. "I'm glad you did. I could feel myself sinking."

Carol sighs and just draws James into a hug, "It's going to be okay. And Phil, he told me, something anyway, he was a bit vague about everything that happened. But that you were able to get… fixed, at least a bit?" She looks at Bucky, "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried."

She's hugging him. His eyes don't quite bug out in shock. But he's got some of the Soldier's inhibition with touch, still. He stiffens for a moment, but then relaxes into it and tentatively puts arms around her. "Yeah. The words…..they still work," he notes. "Because……..the guy who helped coulda destroyed 'em, but…I'm a test bed for all the other guys like me, you know? We can experiment, find out what might help."

Carol nods, "That's… pretty dangerous." She looks at James, and gives him a bit of a wry expression, "But that's also pretty damn brave. A bit dumb, if you ask me, but brave nonetheless. I don't think I could ever do that, honestly." She then releases the hug, taking a half-step back.

"There are more to think about than me. I'm the best off of the bunch," Bucky says, as he lets her go. "I had a life before captivity. These poor mooks - they've never known anything but torture and cold. If I have to deal with this more to let them all be free, I will."

Carol smiles, "You're a good man, James Buchanan Barnes. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise." She moves a hand down and lightly squeezes his hand in her fingers, "Did you have any more books to buy? I mean, I was pretty much done with my shopping anyway."

"I'm done, I think. I need to get back to my job, soon," he notes, wryly. "Gotta make money. But these I can afford," he adds, hefting them in his arms.

Carol blinks, "Job? Wait, you're not working at the… home office?" Okay, she keeps it vague, but yeah, she sounds a little surprised that it sounds like he's not at SHIELD.

"Well, sorta?" he says, as they head for the registers. "I'm officially kind of on retainer when it comes to dealing with all my relatives. But no one's told me what my specific status is. I've been working in a bar - helps pay the bills."

Carol… actually snickers at that, "Well, as long as you have Coke at the bar, I can always come visit you sometime. I don't drink. It's… ah, kindof a problem for me." She blushes a little, but she's been on the wagon for over a year now.

Bucky gives her a sidelong look. "I'll make a fancy Shirley Temple for you," he says, not teasing at all. "I barely drink, because the person I turn into when I've had more than a beer is not someone you wanna meet."

Carol Danvers smiles, "Alright then, I'll have to come by sometime and say hi." And she sounds like she means it too. "But it was… nice running into you James." Her head tilts a bit towards Bucky, as she heads over towards the register with him.

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