1964-08-22 - Match, Set
Summary: Bucky and Scarlett have a check-in.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
rogue bucky 


So, among his array of crashpads is now added the Avengers' Mansion. Steve, generous soul that he has, invited Bucky to stay….and here he has his own room, even. RAther than a couch or a rooftop. Kind as Rogue and Kai have been, there's a wonderful relief in being able to shut and lock a door and have no one in the room but himself.

In the interest of feeding himself and not annoying that array of superpowered room-mates, Bucky's been shopping, and now he's heading for the mansion at an easy pace, holding a paper bag in each hand. Amora's illusion is holding, so he's to all appearances just a young man in a white t-shirt and jeans hurrying home so he can cook dinner.

*

Sometimes a girl needs to get away from the hoi-polloi in Greenwich where her heart lies, and walk around the city. She's spent far too much time airborne, away from common humanity, and even those power-players in their silk and marble halls. Pretty buildings that earn their nods and admirers largely go ignored as she drops down out of the sky.

The funny thing about Asgardian seidr illusions? Even the girl without magic actually knows what they feel like, for reasons circumspectly mentioned. Whatever it is, she's simply there in the loose, cooling shadows that link those grand buildings. Jumping over someone's fence is a little less cool than meets the eye, but Scarlett rarely worries about that sort of stuff. Mostly.

*

The motion catches his eye, and he's peering over. Only to smile a little when he recognizes the one who's just landed. "Hey," he says, amiably. He can't wave, hands are full, but he heads that way. He looks so normal without the arm.

*

Motion capture is a thing of the future. Noted braids in a complex series of plaits tumble down her back and there's that dress, a watercolour blur lucky to reach her mid-thigh, the leggings underneath infinitely better about fitting. An amiable greeting works entirely well enough for her. It's not as though Scarlett stands on precedent. "Hey yourself." Never mind her skin is fair and her eyes a little too intensely green, the shade of an aurora rarely dipping this far south in the summer save when the sun's activity becomes unbearably vigorous for a middle-aged star. Bucky need only worry about things of a terrestrial cause, like the girl hurrying to catch up to him and holding out a gloved hand. "Let me help. Or at least escape from looking like I actually lived here."

*

Obediently he hands off one bag. "Do you live here, too?" he asks, mildly. He knows she's got some sort of association with the Avengers, after all. His hair's knotted back, kept with a bobby pin or two. A style that won't be in vogue for men for another fifty years or so, but who's counting?

*

"Rarely. I keep rooms where necessary but my garden is my home, mostly." She occupies the highest penthouse in that building, after all, and the roof colludes with nature to make everything outstandingly natural when not exactly possible. "A place for a go-bag, a few supplies, you know how it goes." She leans in and trusts in other senses to tell her what she needs to know. He might be whom he doesn't look like, but scent rarely lies. And touch, well, that's a last resort. "You?"

*

He does smell like metal. That gun-oil tang is always present, and can't be blamed on the Walther riding on his calf….and the rest of that web of scent is as usual: soap, deodorant, shampoo, just him himself. "Steve's offered me a room for a while," he says, nodding. "Figured I'd get out from under your and Kai's feet a little bit. Russians are less likely to come for me here."

*

Smell confirmed. An illusion might do that, and Scarlett has to trust in certain things. On the other hand, she's completely invading his space and might abruptly realize such. Gun-oil meets with neroli and the sweet memory of summer dancing on sun-heated skin, though she never musters greater than a pallor of fair ivory. Redhead; it won't give her the advantage even if she tints darker into the autumnal hues. "I rather cared for the company for all I have been a ghost, but Steve probably knows best. You always have a key, you know." She leans back, her weight subtly shifted away. "The Russians do not worry me so much as the thought you might be in need and…" Shut up, Scarlett.

*

He looks a little rueful. "Steve'll take care of me," he says, confidently. "IT's his turn to watch out for me," His tone is teasing. As if whatever agents the Soviets can send equate to the playground bullies he used to chase off from a bloodied and battered Steve Rogers. "And I'll be by, don't worry. Let me know when you're away and I'll come water the plants."

*

Her eyebrows arch slightly, a piquant expression at the response. "I could take that entirely the wrong way," says the bohemienne, executing a turn that might just put her in front of Bucky briefly and then orbiting around him in a pale satellite. "Though I shall endeavour not to. Are you happy right now? Disregard all the matters of places where you find shelter, and the arrangements given to let you free. It's simply this, are you content with your lot? Say no and I can pull you out to wherever you need to be right now."

*

That's a hell of an offer, and his brow furrows as he mulls it over. "Happy," he says, musingly. "Right this moment, I'm okay. Longer term….there's a lot of stuff to work on. The Russians cloned me, it seems. So I've got dozens, maybe hundreds, of miserable little brothers in Siberia. That can't stand." Leading the way up the stairs to the main entrance. "Content with my lot?…..no. But it's not a matter of place. More a matter of progress. My programming's under control - I won't be trying to murder Steve at the dinner table with a butter knife. That's good. But it'sstill in there. Might need me as a test bed for all the other Winter Soldiers…"

*

"You are permitted to complain about it, you know." Scarlett squeezes his arm; the flesh and bone one, since morphing and warping the overlapping lamella of his other would behoove no one as a welcome thing. "Everyone can say they are not perfectly satisfied and respond with what would be better for them. Remember that you have an audience willing to hear you and concerned in the best way. Not simply Steve, you know?" Leather-bound fingers flex effortlessly to permit a measure of privacy once more as she steps away from him fully, staring up at the steps. "Let me take that in. If you wish to humour me, I want to keep walking. Sometimes it feels… forgettable, how to do such things. Roam the city."

*

"Let's go put these up," he says, leaning on the door with his other shoulder. He smiles at her. "I appreciate that," he adds, as they head down the hall towards the stairs to the kitchen. "Then we'll go walking."

*

The fancy confines of the manor where the Avengers make their headquarters is probably overly opulent compared to everything except Tony Stark's bedroom. Not like she intends to go in there and find out. Scarlett drifts alongside the former Russian soldier, rolling off her feet. "You have clones. Younger brothers. Does that disturb you? Are you certain you are the first?"

*

"It disturbs me a hell of a lot," he says, as he clatters down the stairs to the lower level. "If they are real clones, genetically, they're my brothers. In terms of some semantics, they're my sons. Either way, I feel responsible, even though I didn't consent to whatever procedure ended up with them being made." Yet another violation, beyond heart, mind, and body. His future. Their future. "Am I certain i'm the first? Not a hundred percent. But I have memories of my life here. Records bear it out. People here remember me - PEggy and Steve - and I remember them. The one that we captured…..he doesn't think he's James Barnes, too. No name, no number. He thinks he has parents,but he can't name them. He doesn't question that. So yeah, I think I am."

*

The prospect of a cadre of Buckies… Please allow five minutes for a complete reset. Scarlett falls silent whilst they locate the proper spot to store the groceries and other snacks obtained by going out. Her gaze narrows a fraction and trails along the walls, across his back, and into the ether of the middleground where the consuming trails of disbelief square off. Her mouth tightens slightly. "No. I would imagine you did not." Her English accent floats through her words, a crisper division recalled than she normally possesses. Distract her and watch the alterations of self. "I am sorry, cheri, truly I am. Discoveries from older days are hard enough. Though if it consoles you, I don't remember anything like that, either."

*

"So….I guess right now….the project is stealing the rest of them. And then freeing them, in one way or another," His tone's offhand as he puts milk and cheese into the fridge, turns to figure out where to store bananas. "I'm not sure how to start chipping at that wall. SHIELD might help - these guys are an awful threat, if they're a souped-up version of me with no doubts, no questions, and no memories of anything else." The look he gives her is kindly, a little sorrowful, but somehow there's nothing of pity to it. "But you're still you. Your own mind, your own will. This guy…..Matvei, he's g ot nothing to compare it to. All he knows is what he's been told."

*

"James." A quiet, soft intonation of his name invokes a deeper bond than the simple amusement of a bohemienne. "Do you forget where I came from, what I am? That once I walked through a set of doors so profoundly disjointed from the world I might as well have been a foundling? You remember the years of your life. Mine, not even the likes of a psychic of tremendous calibre can disentangle. Your life was more real up to that point than my own." One of those bitter realities she wouldn't confess almost anywhere else, but the hammerbeat of truth does not release her easily. She tilts her chin up, daring him to meet those unearthly eyes. Scarlett doesn't sigh. "He might be further along than I. But if the structure is there, you have something to work with."

*

He touches her face with his gloved hand, cupping the curve of her jaw. An echo of the way he touched his 'brother'. "You're right," he says, patting her cheek with those leather-covered fingertips. "I'm sorry."

*

In truth, Scarlett is a cat. A cat of a questionably spotted leopard in variety, perhaps a tiger hidden behind the smile of a domestic feline who has never totally forgotten the worship of Bast in ancient times. She naturally tilts her head, essentially encouraging those leather-bound fingers to slide behind the shell of her ear for scritchings, thank you very much. Braids tug on the scalp; a purr is the appropriate sound. "I could regret. For friends as you and Jean, surrendering my childhood and my name are well worth the price." A nudge. Scritches.

*

That's….unexpected. But he obliges, carefully. The alloy hand is built for strength and durability - he can block bullets, yank car doors off their hinges and use a cinder block as a melee weapon - but it's not built for the delicate work. He tries, though, using the glove's seams to advantage, massaging her scalp carefully as if she were Kevin. There's enough of a semblance of nail there to serve. "I'm glad you think so," he says, gently.

*

She also happens to be resistant to things like bullets fired from tanks, like another woman in the venue. Scarlett's durability is a thing not tested on its upper limits, though she can cause mayhem with rockets at this point. Her eyes thin to a glittering emerald crescent under copper-tipped lashes. Explaining herself might be a point too far right now as she stops totally in her tracks, minus standing on tiptoe to achieve maximum scalp impression. "Harder. You won't hurt me." Oh, fear that. Her smile runs to dreamy for a long moment. She's a bit different from Kevin; no floppy ears. "Truthfully life seems to be in a balance. Where everything is askew, we can figure out the parts that don't make sense or fit the way they should. Remember that."

*

So that's her weakness. Like him and sunbeams. Huh. He obliges, exerting more pressure, fingers unyielding behind the soft leather. "Yeah," he agrees, voice low. "Mine's on an upward arc, my six dozen little brothers notwithstanding. I'm saner than I was. I have friends and refuges and employment. Steve's still alive. So is Kai."

*

"Sanity and refuges and employment. Remind me if I ever step beyond the grave to haunt you to make sure you're still content." Amusement flickers there as she closes her eyes, leaning her shoulder into the wall. "Or at least to count." Laughter ripples from a distance down the line of her throat, but she's altogether caught up like a cat in a sunbeam. They do similar things. So does rainfall.

*

"It's relative," he allows, as he shifts his attentions to the back of her skull, just above the nape. "I'm not being tortured on a daily basis. I'm not murdering people. I'm not dead. I'm not being starved or frozen or mutilated. I'm a simple man, you know, I don't demand a lot."

*

Define simplicity in a life. Her agreement is almost throaty. Those braids may be pencil thin but they're also particularly heavy when together, a lashed weave. At this rate, if Bucky did not mind, she might simply fall to the floor in a meditative heap gone to sleep. "By that measure, yes. Hard to argue upon that point. Though what you want, past that?" Questions intend to come forth but the languor leaves her serpentine and easy.

*

"Beyond the negatives? I want my brothers free and sane and safe." He's definitely got a bee in his bonnet on that subject, the hundred echoes in the cold halls. "Once that's taken care of….to work for SHIELD, at least sometimes. Maybe to go to college eventually. I honestly don't know. My expectations aren't much."

*

"I like that. Positive and informed to do something good. You are a wonderful and incongruously hopeful person. Though simplicity and expectations harboured in plain terms are not entirely true of you." Scarlett rolls her shoulder, and if she feels her chin dipping, she can fight to maintain equilibrium that doesn't amount to falling into a heap of sleepy, relaxed approval. "We ought to flee 'ere anyone catches us here."

*

"I have these skills," Buck says, simply. "I might as well use 'em. Though I'm learning to make a good sidecar," he adds. "And to find a way to bounce rich jackasses out on their ass without disrupting the show on the stage." He's leading the way out - the back way, through the mostly unused formal dining room to the tiny backyard.

*

Laughter ricochets for only a moment. Only that, and then it submerges entirely within the context of Scarlett's rising control. "I have no doubt that you can toss them out on their ear or their backside effectively." She follows the man throughout the mansion, negotiating her way. "Alas, Columbia holds me mostly thrall. As to the rest, the same as you. The Avengers, those of my particular disposition, and meeting and spreading out into as many areas as possible to hold a peace. Perhaps we can both be helped, there."

*

"It helps that I'm not as big as most bouncers. It generally takes 'em by surprise," Bucky notes. "Yeah?" he asks, looking back at her over his shoulder. "Helped how?"

*

Violence isn't Scarlett's bag and never has been, but she knows how to laugh. "Having connections in places where we can call on others knowing us has to be a good thing. Imagine we establish a network of acquaintances and alliances. Now trouble shows up. Do you think they would listen to a stranger or someone they know better?"

*

"Fair enough," he says, after a moment. Out the back gate and down the alley that leads to the sidewalk proper. His real home, even if the mansion is nothing like the old tenements in Brooklyn. "Let's go to the park." And that's the direction he turns.

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