1964-08-21 - Safe Words
Summary: Steve and Bucky go over safe words
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bucky steve-rogers 

It's a sad truth that Bucky's visits do usually presage trouble, these days. He may be getting better, especially in terms of his own sanity, but that doesn't mean he's not still mired in other conflicts. Which may explain his worried expression, as he waits on the stoop of the mansion for Steve or another AVenger to let him in.

With a brown paper bag hung from one arm, Steve enters the gate and nods as he sees Bucky. He's been expecting something coming down the pike. A reckoning. There always is. As he approaches, though, he's cheerful, smiling at his own friend. "Hey, Buck, what's up?"

Buck turns, and his own smile appears. "Hey, Steve," he says, "Need some help with those?" He comes back down the steps. As if Steve is still the 90 pound weakling who needs help up the stairs. Old habits die hard.

"I sure hope not," Steve replies with a chuckle and a shake of his head. "If I do then I'm going to need to spend a bit more time in the gym." Out comes the key and he opens the door with a quick flick of his wrist and a kick to the door. He leaves it open as he makes his way to the kitchen. "So, what's up?"

And just as swiftly as it was there, gone again. Buck looks grim, as he shuts the door behind Steve and trails after him. "It's a long story, and a weird one. But it boils down to this: remember my sister Rebecca, and how she was my only sibling?" He takes a deep breath, lets it out, and goes on, "Technically she still is. Functionally…..she's not. I've got a little brother. In fact, I've probably got at least a hundred little brothers."

Steve stops and looks down the hall at Bucky giving a half shake of his head, "I don't quite follow you. Someone leading a secret life or something?" He chuckles, "Not the oddest thing I've ever heard. Ben Franklin supposedly had a ton of illegitimate children."

There's a bark of laughter at that. "God, no, Steve. You knew my dad. He was head over heels for my mom." He's shaking his head, as he settles at the kitchen table. "No. I've been in SHIELD's hands again, at that place on the island. They've been doing some work on me, helping hammer down that programming. It's pretty much….not destroyed but disabled. Anyway, while I was there….there was this report coming in from an agent in a Vietnamese port. He was seeing Russian forces in the area…..and a whole lot of 'em looked a lot like me. Just no metal arm. We ended up teleporting in. Didn't save the agent in place, but SHIELD's got one of these guys. I guess they're clones? Something like that, but they seem to be real boys, not robots. Only….they don't really understand that they're individuals. They don't even have names. It's really weird."

Steve gives Bucky a long look but then quickly takes a right into the kitchen, assuming his friend will follow. "Clones? Really? That sounds like some space age, sci fi stuff, Buck."

He spreads his hands. "Well, yeah. We're living in the future, Steve. Time didn't stand still while we were both in the freezer. I know you've got contacts in SHIELD - this isn't just my delusion, ask 'em."

"No, that's not what I mean. It just sounds crazy is all," Steve says as he shrugs his shoulders. He begins to put away the groceries. "These clones? What are they doing? Do you have an idea of what their goals might be or who made them?

"It's pretty clear it's the Russians," Buck notes, wryly. HE settles down at the table. No offering to help. He has no idea where that stuff goes anyhow. "They only speak Russian. They look like me, and the Russians had me. Goals there….there was some kind of evacuation going on. My guess, considering how little this guy seems to know of the world is that they're disposable supersoldiers. Ever since you got hatched by Erskine, every modern state with the resources has been trying to make something to match you, and more of 'em. We've tried talking to him, and he talks okay…..but it's like he's kind of retarded. I mean….not dumb, but….he doesn't know anything outside of them. And certain stuff it doesn't seem to ocurr to him to question."

"You said there were hundreds. How can you be sure and how did you speak to this one in particular? Any idea what they may have planned immediately? Other than just carbon copying a ton of assassins, I mean." Steve closes the refrigerator and leans against it, folding his arms over his chest.

"We had reports from the agent in place, first. That's why I got involved. I was sitting in a SHIELD cell, minding my own business….when I get dragged out because the agent currently in charge there asked for me. This guy on the radio was yelling about how the this whole town is full of Winter Soldiers. Then we got teleported in by some agent who was barely more than a kid, and we all saw them firsthand. There were like….half a dozen agents with us?" He leans back in the chair, looks at Steve. "There they were. One of the guys with us managed to knock one out, and when we teleported back to the HQ, we still had him. He's in SHIELD's basement right now." He leans his arm on the table. "That's where I talked to him. We tried asking him what they were up to, and he was just vague."

"Weird," Steve says as he rubs his jaw. "What was his reaction to seeing you? I mean, you noted that they don't seem to have …a lot of outside interests, but that might have been jarring." He shrugs, "Maybe not, he presumably grew up with a lot of yous. Tough break for him."

Buck shakes his head. "It wasn't jarring at all, for him. I was just one of the many, you know? They don't know where they came from, they think they have parents."

"Where do you go from here?" Steve asks. "I assume SHIELD has a plan. Something Fury or Peggy are cooking up."

"They haven't told me yet," Bucky admits, quietly. 'Remember, I'm not really an agent yet, so far's they're concerned. My own status is kind of ambiguous. I'm not jailed or anything, no one's threatening me…." And then there's an odd blankness in his face. "Steve," he says, hesitating, "I've got something I need to give you."

"I guess that's a good point. I just figured given who you are, Peggy might have gave you some intel." Steve tilts his head, looking at Buck. "Give me something? What is it?"

"When…when this guy was working on my brain, and all the stuff the Russians put in there….he helped me dig out the codewords they use on me. They apparently work on these clones or brothers, too….and they work on me, too. I want to give them to you because you're one of the few I trust to have them. They'll let you shut me down if something goes really wrong."

Steve raises his eyebrows and nods. "I mean, we need to make sure they're safe and don't get out. That being said, they'd have been pretty useful in the past. I hope we'll never have to use them."

Bucky nods. "Okay," he says, clearly trying to work up the courage. "First one is the knockout. This'll shut me right down to unconsciousness. Just two words: Soldat sputnik. Don't say it back to me or I'll faint right here, for real."

"I bet that's going to be a great hit at dinner parties," Steve says with a nod. "Got it."

Steve gets a blank stare for a moment. Then he dissolves into helpless laughter. "Oh, thanks, Steve," he says, face in his metal hand for a moment. "You'd better not pull that on me in public. The second one I know is longer. This one ….I'm conscious, but I'll follow whatever directions I'm given. That includes longer term stuff, like, say….getting to America and shooting you in the head." Whereupon he recites the whole 'Longing, rusted….' litany, in careful Russian.

"Oh," Steve responds as Bucky remarks about shooting him through the throat, "Yeah, let's not do that again." As Steve listens to the words, it dawns on him how important this is. Also, how useful it might be if any of the hundreds of brothers Bucky has come into play in a negative way.

He can see that realization set in, and Bucky nods, approvingly. "Recite it back to me, in reverse. STart with the last word. I want to make sure you have it. SHIELD's gonna have it, too. I told Coulson….and I know it's going to be stored away somewhere. I need someone I trust absolutely to be able to stop or undo it, because the time will come that they're going to do that to me. I trust Peggy…but Peggy's not everyone there."

Even Peggy has made some decisions that Steve has had some trouble swallowing in the past. "That makes sense." Slowly, and carefully, Steve recites it, backwards, doing a pretty good job of it. Clearly he was paying attention.

"Now forwards," Buck's being a little bossy….but then, this is the most sensitive subject there is, where he's concerned.

Steve nods, and just as slowly, goes ahead and begins to stay the words forwards, raising his eyebrows as he does so. As he finishes, he looks on warily, worried of what it might do.

When he finishes the last….there's no sudden movement. Bucky doesn't lunge out of the chair for Steve's throat. But his posture's changed, the blue eyes are utterly, disturbingly empty and he's watching Steve with the calm attentiveness of a guard dog awaiting a command. "Ya gotov otvechat," he says, quietly.

For a moment, Steve considers making Bucky do something silly so that he can tease him later. But that would be cruel, even for two friends who spent their adolescence together. "Bring back the old Bucky," Steve says, "And disregard any commands the real Bucky doesn't want to adhere to."

There's a perturbing moment where that other presence is still looking out of his friend's eyes….and then it's submerged, gone like a shark diving. Something in his expression eases, but then his eyes are sad again. "You saw, didn't you?" Not really a question.

Steve nods, "Yeah, Buck. I saw." There's a dramatic pause. "But don't worry, I didn't make you do anything too embarrassing. Assuming you don't have anything against Mrs. Thompson from two doors down."

"…..you could've at least lit my cigarette for me after, Steve," Bucky complains, deadpan. Rolling with the joke.

"I'm only half the gentleman people think I am," Steve shoots back.

"But you're twice the lady the rest of us are," Bucky retorts, eyes agleam. A little rusty at the verbal fencing, but you never do forget how.

Steve lets out a laugh, as Bucky gets a good shot in. "I must admit that I am in touch with my feminine side." He continues a snicker, "What else is going on with you?"

"I never have seen you with your stocking seams crooked," Buck concedes, magnanimously. "Other than that? Not much. Tending bar at Lux. Reading. I mean….this thing with SHIELD's gonna take a lot of time, and 'm not on the payroll yet. Gotta help pay rent."

"Makes sense," Steve replies. "If you need a place to crash ever, you're more than welcome to stay here. I have plenty of extra space, a stocked fridge, and a steady stream of beautiful people who come in at all hours of the night." He pauses. "When I put it like that you'd think I lived in the greatest house in America."

"Don't tempt me," Bucky says, hesitantly, the humor fading. "I crash with KAi and I crash with Scarlett, and neither of them is exactly living in a Carnegie mansion, you know? I mean, I'm no princess but I don't like feeling like I'm perpetually underfoot."

"I wasn't underfoot when you used to have me stay over at your place when we were kids," Steve says with a head twitch. "Don't be proud."

"You weren't an internationally wanted assassin back then, Steve. You gotta lotta roommates here. They gonna be all right with the crazed gunman in the attic?" Of course he knows where the rooms are. Of course he's literally scoped this place out. Tony Stark might need a 7.62 firm talking-to, sometime…..and somewhere he's not parading around in that Iron Man suit.

"Well, no, but I like to think that certain parts of the world would still like to see me 6 feet under. Your friends in Russia, of course." Steve chuckles and sighs, "You have a point though."

He considers that. "I mean, this *is* pretty much one of the safest places in New York for me if your housemates are okay with it. Yeah, I'll take you up on it. If they need me to leave, just say."

Steve nods, "The won't. And even if they did, I know the shut down words for you. So, there's that." He chuckles a bit, before clasping Bucky on the shoulder, "Come on, I'll go get your room ready."

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