1964-09-24 - Operation Winter Soldier: Getting To Know You
Summary: Black Widow is onto Bucky, Jack, James Barnes, whatever he calls himself know. He is the Winter Soldier. Someone took him from her and messed with his mind. She'll get him back at any cost. Step one, connect with the target, this time in the guise of Jeanne Marceau, a tourist to America. Just a casual evening at the Lux.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
kai gidget harper black-widow bucky 

Sunday evenings are quieter than the preceding, generally. Bucky's there - it's early enough that he's all that's needed for now. In his usual suit, the leather glove on his left hand, his hair tied back into one of those low ponytails. He's rather dreamily tending to the housekeeping, making sure things are ready for later, when he'll probably be at the door. His expression is almost perfectly neutral, a little abstracted, as if turning something over in his mind. Something that has him worried, by the little line carved between his brows.

Harper has been spending a good deal more time at Lux lately, since it's one of the few places where the people who are after her won't cross the threshold. It takes some of the shine off, when you don't really have a choice to be somewhere else, but she makes the best of it as she can. She wears a light illusion as she sits at the bar, turning her hair pitch black and eyes bright blue, sharpening the lines of her features, but Bucky can likely recognize the slinky blue dress she wears. Illusions may be endless, but her closet isn't.

Well it was another night out for Gidget since she wasn't actually at the office. For once she didn't look like the office school mark like she normally does. Licking her lips she would just make her way into the club, those heels clicking lightly as she came to a stop. Looking around she was starting to feel the tug just run go and go to where she normally hangs out but she knows that Luke would tease her for her outfit. Wearing a black silk dress that was a halter but backless, she knew she was not exactly looking like the 'mod' of today but she wanted to make something different for herself. Those brown eyes would look around then as she tightened the grip on her handbag as the other hand idly touched a golden pendant around her neck. Taking a deep breath she would just say screw it and finish making her way inside and towards the bar.

While visiting Sister Margaret's as Lesley, Natasha learned that the man who seems like a brainwashed Winter Soldier, is working the bar at the Lux. It's been sometime, she had since tracked him, paid a visit to his apartment, and started gathering intel on SHIELD for an infiltration operation. But a good intermediate step is getting to know the target better, which is why today, Jeanne Marceau, a blonde haired, blue eyed tourist is making a stop at the famous bar. She's dressed in a bow-trimmed overblouse dress, buttoned along the back, the side zippered skirt flaring widely over her knees. It carries a floral pattern, with dominant hues of pinks, purples and reds. Her makeup is impeccable, in shades complementing her dress, and her heels click clack along as she makes her way directly for the bar, helping herself to a seat right infront of Bucky, flashing him a dazzling smile, "hello there handsome, what's the best drink on offer? I'm told the Lux is absolutely not to be missed," while there's traces of French accent in her voice, it's clear she's been working on her English before making the trip.

With the arrival of more patrons, he's jerked out of whatever reverie he was in, pasting on that reflexive service worker's smile. Harper gets a little sidelong grin and the faintest inclination of his head. I see you. "What'll you have?" he wonders of her. Gidget gets a more formal welcome, as he turns towards her, the smile simply part of the uniform, so to speak. "Welcome to Lux, ma'am, what can I get for you?" It's 'Jeanne', however, that really calls up the spark in the blue eyes. Whether it's a gut level recognition that Winter is keeping to himself, or a weakness for a French accent, the smile he favors her with is a hair wider, the lines around his eyes deepening. His own French is almost flawless, the American accent mostly erased, as he replies, «That depends on what you like best, Miss.»

"Oh, you know the drill, Jack," Harper smirks back at Bucky, waving a finger. "I'll have one of whatever you're making. Surprise me." She glances over as the other woman approaches, and if she doesn't see any threat in her immediately, she does note the change in the bartender. Not that she seems to really react to it, except with a delighted smile. "Is that French?" she asks, setting a hand to her chest. "My stars, I have always wanted to see Paris."

"Umm…." She'd look over when she heard that voice and smiled. "Scotch….neat…." Well she wasn't starting off light that was for sure. Looking into that handbag she would pull out some cash as she then perked at the French. Oh the language of her family….rare she actually got to speak it. Though her own accent seemed to be more upstate New York when she did speak her father' native tongue, it was flawless. Clearing her through she would pull out a twenty before setting on the bar. "Thank you…." Looking to the other two women she would just smile before running her fingers through her short dark hair. Licking her lips she would then look up as she spoke up in French then. «I would prefer a Balvenie…if you carry it….» Stopping she would clear her through. "Or whatever you have is fine…."

«Oh my god!» Jeanne seems duly impressed and utterly surprised to hear such flawless French from the handsome bartender, causing her to lean against the bar for a closer flirty look at him, «I did not anticipate I shall hear French while visiting America, and such flawless Parisian accent too! Did you ever live in France?» Jeanne asks excitedly, for a moment forgetting she was about to order a drink. The woman who asks about the language, get a briefly quipped, "but of course! You cannot mistake the lyrical French with any other uncouth language!" Yes, Jeanne seems French alright. And then Gidget speaks French as well, and Jeanne turns to her «I see today is a gathering of wonderful people, eh? So surprised, so happy!»

That makes him slant a sardonic look at Harper. "I bet you don't, 'cause what I was making when you came in was a Roy Rogers. I'm imagining what you want is something with a little more kick. And it is - Paris is definitely worth seeing." Gidget gets an amiable nod, and agreement in French - apparently they do have Balvenie. Lucian's adamant about making sure the selection of spirits is encyclopedic, after all. To Jeanne, he says, «I spent some time there, some years ago. Long enough to pick it up.» Liar. Being intensively drilled in it before being shipped over, and then having the Russians polish it as another asset for someone who needs to 'work' all over Europe is a long way from picking it up.

"It is such a beautiful language," Harper sighs as the French flies, laughing when Bucky mentions the drink of the moment. "Well, Jack, I'm sure if you're making it and you're making it here, then there's a twist of something interesting to it, either way. What's brought you ladies all the way to New York from somewhere as glamorous as Paris?" she asks, looking between Gidget and Jeanne.

Someone bought Kai a tailored suit, gunmetal grey with a charcoal tie. Despite the perfect fit and the beard, that baby face makes the elf look like a kid who's borrowing from his father's wardrobe. There's too much youthful exuberance in his stride to call him debonair, and he grins too broadly to come off as smooth. He looks around and, upon spying Jack, waves to him and wanders over.

"Thanks…." Gidget would slide that money close as she then turned her attention to Harper with a smile. "Well…." Now how did she want to answer this but just chuckled a bit as she shrugged. "I'm actually from upstate New York. My father is from Marseille though….." Licking her lips she would lean on the bar a little bit now as she sat her purse on the counter. "I've been to Paris though while I was studying….it was great." Those brown eyes would look to the next person to walk through the door. A head tilt as she though she recognized them but looked back to the woman. "I'm in the city because work brought me here…."

«Well I would have never guessed, you speak as fluently and impeccably as a true Parisian,» Jeanne coos at Bucky, one would almost think she had an eye for the fetching tender. Turning back to Bucky, she adds, «I must try your take on Kir Royal then, simple, maybe, but I'm sure with your touch it's quite divine.»

Flattered by the interest taken, Jeanne answers Harper while still having her eyes constantly avert to Bucky, "I come for the famous city, the music, the decadant clubs," she then adds in a hushed tone while surveying Bucky quite openly, "the men…"

He's apparently improvising something as he listens to the three ladies already at the bar. But when he spots Kai come in, his face lights up, beyond mere politeness or good nature. "Kai," he says, "Hey. C'mon over and have a seat." Then back to the ladies. "I've been to Marseille, too," he adds, nodding. The memories of Marseille aren't as gilded as those of Paris. HE didn't fight in Paris proper…but Marseille he and Cap helped liberate. "What is it you do?" Jeanne's obvious flirtation makes him glow a little in return. Someone's got an abject weakness for French girls, and that fragment of Winter, quiescent, is yearning towards Jeanne. «Kir Royal it is, then,» he says. And then adds, in English, "If there's anyone who knows where the best clubs are, it's that guy there." A jerk of his chin at Kai.

"I so want to visit Paris some day," Harper sighs wistfully, propping her chin up in one hand. "The museums, the art. The music. But I've got to learn some French, save up some money. And convince my parents, of course. I swear, Papa thinks it's still full of Nazis," she laughs, shaking her head. She turns an easy smile on Kai as he approaches, one corner deepening with a flicker of amusement at Jeanne's mention of the men.

"I haven't been to Paris in ages," Kai says. "Nice place." He snap-points to Bucky and says, "Cafe Wha? is where it's at, Daddy-O. Check in again next week, I'll tell you where to go." Harper gets a warm grin, and he sidles up to the bar. "I want the Hammer of the Gods," he says. He peers at the drink board more closely. "And a Devil's Playground." He glances at the others at the bar. "Hey, how's it swinging?"

She would smile a bit. "I didn't get to go visit my father's hometown….he preferred I didn't…." Taking a deep breath she'd look back around the place but when the drink was delivered she'd smile as she picked up her drink. Inhaling deeply, she would close her eyes then took a sip before he continued. "As for what I do…." Trailing off she would chuckle a bit as she shrugged a bit. "I make clothes…..my mentor is in Italy so when he took me on I was in Europe for a good bit before coming her to run his salon…." Looking over to Harper she'd chuckle a bit. "You should go when you get the chance. I got be get a lot out of my system over there….then came here. I was ruined forever by Europe…."

«I do thank you so much,» Jeanne lilts at Bucky, before turning her blue eyes on Kai, "oh, you know about the clubs? Which one do I want to go to for good time?" She asks Kai, before quipping to Bucky, covering her mouth with her hand as if intending only for him to hear her, «do you always stay behind this bar, or is there a time you might accompany a foreigner to such a good club?» Assuming the question of profession was turned at Gidget with her Marseille connection, Jeanne doesn't offer a reply of her own.

Jeanne does mutter at Harper, "oh, no Nazis at all in France, have to thank you Americans for that, eh? Nazis were terrible. A plague I tell you. Demonic fascists," she hisses, no doubt much pain still residing in memory. Does mentioning of Nazis and their fascists goals have anything to do with jogging the memory of one Winter Soldier? That would be silly…or would it?

He's set drinks down before each of the ladies in turn - Scotch is easiest, after whatever Lucian-approved concoction he's whipped up for Harper. Kir Royal for 'Jeanne', and he starts working on Kai's two drinks. Freeloading elf drinks for free here, considering how much the bartender owes him….and that James never takes his comped drinks. "Work in fashion, eh?" he asks Gidget. "That sounds like an excellent excuse to visit Europe as often as possible." He asides to Harper, "We can work on that, if you like. You know when the hours here are slow, and I don't think the boss would mind." The mention of the Nazis makes Bucky's expression sour. "Yeah," he says, quietly. "They were awful." The flirting recalls the smile, and he adds, «Not always here. But….I work two jobs and don't get out much beyond here. I'm sure Kai there'd happy to be a guide - he's safe, a perfect gentleman.»

"Could we?" Harper smiles swiftly to Bucky as she takes her drink. "That'd be great, Jack. You're a real doll. You know, I'm sure there are clubs in the city that are great in their own way, but I'm partial to this place," she admits to the others. "Good jazz music, creative drinks. Helpful help," she winks at Bucky. "And you can hear yourself talk, so there that. Although more dancing wouldn't be a bad thing."

"There's Cafe Wha? you could check out," Kai says, "The Peppermint Lounge and, of course, I wouldn't be in Lux unless it was a happening joint, dig me?" Elf drinks for free? He could get used to that. "This place for the best drinks in town, though," he says before taking a generous mouthful of The Hammer of the Gods. The sheer amount of alcohol involved doesn't seem to faze him. He smacks his lips though and admits, "All right, this is pretty good." He glances down the bar, back and forth, and offers, "I'm Kai, and you're all gorgeous."

"You would think so, huh?" Laughing she would take another sip of her drink then shrugged a bit. "I'm pretty restricted to here because I run the place for him here in the states. It's his first time stateside so…he's making sure nothing go wrong." There was a soft giggle then as she watched the interactions of everyone there then just sighed a bit. Licking her lips she would finally look up to Kai when he spoke and then nodded. "Hi there, Kai. I'm Gidget….." Then she'd look to the others. "Man I'm such a putz sometimes. Yeah….I'm Gidget. And yes…I've heard all the jokes…"

Jeanne takes her drink, making a point of 'accidentally' brushing her fingers along Bucky's before taking hold of her glass, "salute," she toasts and takes a sip. Her eyes fluttering for a moment as she savors the elixir, "just incredible. Spot on." She commends Bucky, and looks over at Kai, «he seems lovely, but you know, it would be rude to disappoint a lady, I won't be long in America…I'd like to remember a shared night with you,» she then turns to look directly at him, «if you will do me the honor?»

She then sets her glass down on the counter, and looks at Bucky again, «would you mind looking over my drink, I have to go to the ladies room, if you'll excuse me,» and so she gets up to go in search of the ladies room, probably to ensure her makeup was impeccable still.

Bucky nods in sympathy to Gidget. "Jokes?" he says, blankly. Someone missed the fifties entirely - he's got nearly twenty years' worth of gap, after all. "But yeah, it sounds like it, if you're masterminding branching out a business to NEw York." To Kai he nods, "That's a good point. The live music is always good - there's either some new group that the boss has found, or he'll play and sing himself, and he's very good." At Jeanne's insistence, he looks a little bemused. Someone's not taking no for an answer….and his smile is just a hair uneasy about the edges. There's a beat where he considers and says, "I'll see. Depends on how long you're here…." She's beautiful, she's French, and oh so tempting…..and gut instincts are piping up, albeit very softly.

"June," Harper introduces herself, raising her glass in a salute to the others and watching Jeanne make her way toward the bathroom. She takes a sip, clearing her throat to give Bucky a bit of a look - you know better than to go after that, Barnes. But she doesn't say anything aloud, instead turning her attention to Kai and Gidget. "Working in fashion in New York must be amazing, though. Always the newest things, always the height of fashion."

Kai inclines his head to Gidget as he says, "We met in Harlem, the Cigar Factory. Another good place to wet your whistle." He takes another swallow of his drink. Behind Jeanne's back, he winks at Bucky and mouth the words 'go for it' and gives him a thumb's up. Always there for his pal Buck. He looks then to Harper and Gidget. "June, it's a pleasure. Say, ladies, do you think there's a suit design that won't make me look so green? I swear I'm old enough to vote."

"Yeah…it's…..nevermind. It's good you don't know…." Chuckling and shaking her head, that tall woman would just hunch slightly as she kept at drink. Hearing the French woman caused Gidge's face to flush before letting out a laugh. Clearing her throat she'd look to June and smiled. "Nice to meet you, June. And….it is however it is a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. I'm just now having a social life again now that I've gotten through some projects….." Looking over to Kai then she would smile. "Yes! You're right! I thought you looked familiar…." Tilted her head she would just nod. "How are you? And…as for the suit I'd….have to think about it. Figure out your personality…..and go from there."

Bucky gives Kai a grin, albeit a shy one. Harper gets a fractional shrug. Hey, you're sitting there in the boat, not even fishing, and the bass just jumps into your lap, what're you gonna do? "No such thing," he assures Kai. "Not with that baby face. I imagine someone could try…." Yeah, he's needling the elf.

"Haircut," Harper answers Kai immediately, though she at least softens the observation with a wry smile. "Haircut, and a generally slimmer, closer fit on things. Stay away from the double-breast, you're too slender for it. If you're going to grow facial hair, keep it neat and trimmed, otherwise it's going to look like you're trying to grow it, which makes you look younger. And I'd go for lighter colors," she adds. "Khaki, cream. The dark colors are going to overwhelm you, which makes you look smaller, which makes you look younger." She says it all like it's nothing, taking a drink afterwards.

Kai rakes a hand through his curls and says, "No can do on the do," he says. "I can't let myself fall victim to The Man just to pass for him once in awhile." He gives his hair a toss and the curls bounce. "Single-breasted, I'm tuned into that, though. He nods as Harper discusses the colors. No objections there. He scratches beard briefly. "I just trimmed it last week. I can't help it, man, I'm too macho for my own good." He grins, then says to Gidget, "We'll just have to hang out. You'll discover I'm hip, but not pretentious." He wrinkles his nose at Bucky and reiterates, "Too macho for my won good."

There was a snort that left her lips before she just kept her mouth shut then. Letting June make her assessment she would then look to Kai as she just said. "…well then…." Her hand would idly go to that pendant that hung around her neck before she would continue. "…if you want to wear light colors….in this season…..by all means…." That was all she said before taking a sip of her drink then. "….but you also shouldn't force yourself in an outfit that does not suit your personality…..you'll just reek of being uncomfortable." Leaving it at that she'd just finish off her drink and then slid the glass on the bar away from her. Looking to the bartender she would smile. "….can I have another….?" Looking over to Kai then she'd smile. "If you come by the fashion house I can show you some stuff we've done that's less….stuffy….?" There was a smile that tugged at her lips as she motioned to her black backless dress that seemed to be made for her….oh it was. "I don't wear this a lot because I feel exposed in the sense of how much skin is shown but….it does suit my personality. Once my social anxiety wears off….I"m pretty comfortable…."

For his part, Buck's folded his lips to restrain a smile. "Riiiiiight," he says, finally, picking up a clean towel to wipe down the bar. "But she's right on the beard. GRow it all the way out - I dunno, a goatee or something - or shave it off. Though if you were cleanshaven, you'd look like a complete puppy." He's got that matter of factness to his voice, a memory of the days when he was Sergeant Barnes, in charge of a platoon of green recruits. "Of course," he says to Gidget, more kindly. "And that dress does look really good on you…"

"Slick it back, then, when you need to pass," Harper suggests to Kai with a wry smile. "It might look a little affected, but it'll give you a little bit more polish. And when you're back to sticking it to the man, just wash your hair." She takes another drink, smile easy as she nods to Gidget. "It's fun. And it doesn't come off as showing too much skin at all," she assures. "I always like open back pieces that way. Sure, it's a lot of skin, but it's not the racy parts, you know?"

Kai regards Bucky for a long moment as he slowly finishes his drink. He sets down the glass and says, "It doesn't grow more than this, mate, and you know it." To Gidget, he says, "My mate got me a suit because I didn't have one, and you have to look spiff to get into this place. Normally I don't wear anything like this. It's the first suit I've owned in… ever, I guess?" Yeah, saying 'years' wouldn't fly well when he looks like he's barely old enough to drink. He tips off a rakish salute to Gidget and tells her, "I'll stop by sometime and see the magic you work, gorgeous." He tries to push his hair back by combing it with in his fingers, and all it does is fluff the curls more. "I'll see if I can tame it. Enough pomade and I'll finally nail it down." He takes up his second drink and says, "Thank you, ladies, you're a lifesaver."

"Thanks….." She'd smile and then chuckled a bit. "You're kind……but it's okay for what it is." Needless to say Gidget was a bit….shy but was slowly getting it under control. Being as tall as she was growing up kind of did that, boy teasing her for her height. Clearing he throat she'd then look at June and Kai, chuckling a bit. "Well when you're used to wearing pants to the office and not really go out much…it takes some adjusting, you know. My friend has been bugging me to get out…take a break, meet people….go on a date for once." Laughing she shook her head a bit. "Here's my effort….I got dressed and left my studio." Looking to Kai then she'd smile. "Totally. Let me now. I"m at Casa di Pucci in Midtown. It's usually appointment only but I tend to make exceptions…just don't tell the receptionist….she's a real stickler."

Now another bartender appears, a strawberry blonde. There's a brief exchange between her and Bucky, and then the latter says, "Ladies, Kai….I gotta deal with the back for now, Ana will take care of you. Kai, I'll see you at home later. Enjoy." With that, he's slipping into the back, already undoing his tie.

"Make good choices," Harper calls after Bucky, taking another drink and keeping an eye on him. Just in case he's also headed to the ladies room. Good choices, Bucky. She looks back to the others then, smile easy. "One of the things I really like about this place. So much room for different looks."

"It's a gas," Kai says. "I can't believe it's taken me so long to get around to coming here. I was going to ask for a job before I got myself a patron." That's one word for 'sugar daddy.' He winks at Gidget and says, "I'll be there with bells on. Which is why I need fashion advice. No one wears bells anymore."

She'd wave to Bucky as he left then looked to the other two. "Yeah this is my first time here. I like it though. I normally go like….gogo dancing and stuff when I do go out. But I think I'm getting too old for that…" Laughing sh would just lean on on the bar as she smiled a bit. "And good. It think it'd be fun to at least go over some stuff I've designed. We can get you something nice…"

"I feel like there's a joke in there somewhere about hip cats needing bells on them," Harper chuckles, tracing her fingertip along the rim of her glass. "Patron, though?" she echoes, curious. "Does that mean you're an artist?"

"Nonsense, you don't look too old," Kai tells Gidget. "But I'm glad to see you here. This place oozes class out of every pore." He takes a swallow of his second drink, appreciating the flavor though still seeming quite sober. "I am," he tells June. "And I've got a rich patron who pays my way basically so that I can make art and wear suits, I guess." He smooths down his jacket. It's not that he doesn't look good, just young. "I paint," he says, "and draw, sculpt, all kinds of stuff. I've got an exhibit coming up."

Laughing she would shake her head a bit and nodded. "Well I'm not in my twenties anymore….I can tell you that…." Giggling she'd hold up her drink once the new bartender fixed it for her to say the least. "I mean….." Shrugging she'd take a long sip before continuing. "I'm the oldest of most people I hang out with. I guess that's what I get for working nonstop for about six years and trying to re-enter normal social circles and not just the ones that I deal with because of work." At the mention of his work then she smiled brightly. "Ooh! Please let me know when it opens up. I would love to see it!"

"Yes, I'd like to see that as well," Harper smiles swiftly to Kai. "We may not be in Paris, but that doesn't mean there's no art scene here in New York. What's your favored medium, if you don't mind me asking? I've always been partial to oils and watercolor - I love the way colors can build and blend - but there are so many different types of art these days."

"Of course," Kai says brightly. "I'll let you both know. I'll leave a note here at Lux too if the owner lets me. The New York art scene is where it's at, ladies." He takes another drink. Hard alcohol should start hitting him, and yet, he shrugs it off. Elves, man. "That's like asking me to pick a favorite child," he tells Harper. "It depends on the piece. I do a lot of oils. The things you can do with oils and texture are so groovy."

Chuckling she'd finally start to dig in her handbag before pulling out a couple of business cards and of course they were pink. They had her name, place of business, the salon's address and a phone number. Passing one to each of them she would smile a bit then. "Here's my card so you can let me know." Looking to June she'd smile brightly then. "If you go let me know. We can maybe get drinks before or something…." A tilt of her head before she looked a clock on the wall. "Hrm…." Now she was in thought.

"Well, isn't that charming," Harper laughs as she takes the card, turning it over in her hand before slipping it into a cigarette case next to her glass. "I'll look forward to it. Sometimes it seems like I don't get out as much as I used to. You know how things go, life gets complicated, things all seem to close in. An art showing would be a nice way to shake things up."

Kai sweeps up one of the cards and takes a look. "Ginchy," he says, then pockets it. "It'll be in SoHo in an abandoned warehouse," he says, "very authentic. The theme is Mutant Rights… well, not exactly. The sentiment is Mutant Rights, the theme is humanizing the dehumanized. There are some lovely models in Mutant Town who have been the absolute grooviest, and they're taking a risk putting their faces out there."

"Sounds amazing…." Slip from her seat now, Gidget would pull out some more cash and then sighed da bit. "But unfortunately….I have to run for now…." Licking her lips she would then straighten her dress before looking between the two of them with a smile. "I should get going. I may go stop by my friend's place…you were there, Kai….and see how he's doing. Then home I go before work tomorrow.." Licking her lips she would then tilt her head and nodded. "I"ll see you guys around…." And with that she turned and sashayed her way out of Lux. Seems she might have a new spot to hang out.

Gidget goes home.

Harper watches Gidget go, reaching for her glass to take another drink. "So you're a friend of Jack's yeah?" she asks Kai with a small smile. Sure, she knows the answer, but you never know what you find out when you start to ask some questions.

Kai nods to Harper and says, "Sure. We've been friends for awhile now. He lives in our spare room, and before that he crashed on the couch." Some of his cheer dims as he says, resolute, "We've been through some stuff together, Jack and I. I'd punch a bloke to defend him." Kai's all about offering information.

Noted and stored away for later reference. Bucky really is Harper pet project when it comes to collecting intel. Helps keep her sharp, right? "Our spare room?" she echoes, quirking a brow with a teasing smile. "You and Jack share a…patron, is that it?" she asks, taking a drink.

Kai shakes his head and says, "Oh, no. He's my patron. Jack's just the friend who lives with us. He takes care of us, we take care of him. Family's who you choose, dig me? Not who birthed you. Jack's like the brother I never had but always wanted." He seeks out Jack, who is alas still in the back. "We're pretty tight."

"That sounds nice," Harper says with a small smile, looking back toward where Bucky left. "Sounds like it's probably good for him. He works hard, you know? Good to have a place to go home and relax with people who'll look out for him when he's not necessarily looking out for himself."

Kai nods, curls bouncing. "It's a great arrangement. And he does work hard. He likes to stay active and be productive. It's nice he can have a place to relax, though he insists on doing the cooking and cleaning." He shrugs a shoulder. "I'm not going to stop him if he's adamant, you know? As long as he takes at least a little time for himself."

"He cooks and cleans?" Harper laughs, the corners of her eyes crinkling with her smile. "No, I shouldn't be surprised. I can see it. It's still a funny picture, but I can see it well enough. He always seems a little bit…lost. Good to know he's got a place he can call home."

Kai grins and says, "Yeah, he does." The grin fades as he contemplates Jack's lostness. "He's had a rough time," he says. "Even before him and I went through our shit, he'd been through a time and a half. He's still finding his way back." He looks at Harper, those big blue eyes wrought with sincerity. "He's a good man, June. One of the best."

"That he is," Harper agrees with a nod, tossing back the rest of her drink as she slides from her stool. "Even if he doesn't always know what's smartest for him," she winks. "But he seems to have plenty of people to look out for him, so that's good. If you'll excuse me, though. I'm going to visit the ladies room." And maybe make sure Bucky's not in there doing something stupid…

Kai tips off a rakish salute and says, "A pleasure, June. If you can get him to lighten up and have some fun, you would be doing me a favor. I worry about him, you know?" Because, yeah. The smart thing. "Maybe I'll see you around."

"Oh, you probably will," Harper smiles slyly back to Kai, tipping a playful salute in return. "Take care, Kai. I'll look forward to that art show."

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