1964-10-22 - Some Hard Truths
Summary: Sharon and Bucky catch up after a long time apart. Bucky tells her about dying, she tells him about SHIELD. Much smoking and drinking is shared.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
bucky sharon 

He's becoming something of a regular here - people are friendly, place is nice, if blue-collar. Buck doesn't feel comfortable drinking at Lux after his own shift - too fancy for him, funnily enough. So there he is, henley over a t-shirt (gotta have the long sleeves), jeans, canvas military surplus parka without its lining. Not poor, but not high on the hog, either. He heads for his favored corner of the bar, peeling off the ball cap he was wearing, letting his hair fall from where he'd t ucked it up beneath.

After a long, rough assignment that left Sharon with a few cracked ribs and lots of bruises, a few days recovery, some strange personal developments and a long talk with her aunt which ended in screaming, Sharon's found a very nice bottle to make all the various bits of misery go quiet. That was a few days ago. Now, she's crawling out of it in the only place that she knows she'll find one, if not two people, who will pull her the rest of the way. So, she's come back to Luke's place. Only, he's out helping with some community things and there's no sign of Jessica, so the blonde hesitates on the edge of the door a moment or two after she walks in. About to turn back, part of her recognizes the back of that dark haired head and blinks. She hovers on the edge of the door, debating, but then the few drinks from earlier make her sway forward enough her feet make a decision. She shifts her way across the room, sliding up into a seat next to Bucky. "No Luke tonight?" SHe asks the bartender huskily. He just shakes his head, muttering something about later, and goes about pouring her two fingers of whiskey without asking. Even he knows.

That has the Soldier slanting a look at her, sidelong. "Hey, lady," he says, but it's gentle, as he bumps her shoulder with his, lightly. Even with the layers of cloth between them, she can feel the metal - it doesn't yield the way even the toughest human muscle does. "You look like twenty miles of bad road." Not mincing words, is Sergeant Barnes. For himself, it's a Cuba Libre, apparently. He looks odd with his hair down.

A vague smile ghosts across her lips and she bumps his shoulder back in a warm, gentle way. Not the awkwardness of someone holding herself back from doing more. Just a brush of affection at being happy to see someone she's missed. Apparently, she's managed to somewhat work through her touch thing. Or perhaps she's just that drunk, who knows. "…Lookin' good yourself. The hair's down. Looks nice. Almost didn't recognize you. So glad to see you, Buck… and your sweet words." Sharon sardonically comments flatly, though there is a crack of a smile behind her commentary. Then the whiskey is put before her and she knocks it back with half a wince. SHe's learning to drink like Jessica. She nods for another.

That makes his brow furrow. "You think so, eh? A lot of people give me grief over it, on the street." He tugs a loose lock. "I was originally growing it out to let it hide a wound on the back of my head. Now I'm mostly keeping it ….well, let's just say it's distinctive in the field." As if the metal arm weren't. Buck grins at her, just a little. "You know, you could just get pure grain alcohol if there's a deadline for ruining your liver…."

"Eh…if the booze or cigarettes kill me, I got real fucking lucky." She raises her glass to him, but doesn't shoot this one, she takes a smaller sip, her motions still mostly clean. Mostly. For someone who is so trained and paranoid as her normal self, the fact that she's slipping at all means she's been crawling through a bottle for a while now. "…a head wound? Should I be worried? What the fuck happened? And fuck'em. I like it. Doesn't look like the… well… the first time I met you. I like it. It looks like… You." Sharon tries to explain, not very successfully. She's still working on that bonding thing, apparently.

"I got shot in the face. I died. You know that redhead, Ava? She did it. Some mutants were trying to steal me and trade me for a lot of Semtex - my old masters were dealing with them through some pro-mutant front organization. The guy I used to be, he took control…..and I'd asked Ava, before, to make absolutely sure that couldn't happen. No matter what."

He is, to all appearances, dead serious. "That shoulda been that, with what was left of me buried on Hart's Island." The potter's field for the City. "But the mutants stole my body, and one of those who did can apparently revive the dead. I wonder if he could revive himself, I left him needing it."

Gidget goes home.

There was whiskey next to Sharon. There was a thought in her head of soon lighting a cigarette. But then she hears that story and all of it goes out of her mind. She just stares at Bucky, blue eyes a bit too wide. Clearly, she believes him — either too drunk or just having seen too much super-human shit not too — but it's not a comfortable believe. "…what….What. The…FUCK?" She hisses, and then she's swatting at his metal shoulder, even if she knows it will hurt her more than him, "You fucking DIED AND DIDN'T EVEN TELL ME? …You…DIED? You… you signed your own assassination WARRANT?! FUCK, BUCKY!" She's both angry and relieved and looks torn between hitting him again or hugging him.

He flinches at his name. "Jack," he says, calmly. "I go by Jack." It's an alias more full of holes than a paper doily, at this point. "'member? And…..no one's going to take me back there. Not where he came from. Not ever against my will. Ava understood that there are fates worse than death, and she did what had to be done. 'd asked her to specifically, because I knew she wouldn't flinch." He's utterly matter of fact about it. "Anyhow, when this mutant healed me….he didn't grow back the hair that'd covered the exit wound. So I had this big bald patch at the back of my head. HAir's still shorter there, you can feel it."

"Jack. No one gives a fuck in here, is sober enough to care, and Luke would kill'em if they did, but… Jack." Sharon huffs out, still half beside herself about it but she forces herself to take in a deep breath to calm her heart from her throat for a moment. She then reaches up, carefully (unless he stops her) moving fingertips to that area to feel the shorter hair. She shakes her head slightly, "…fucking insane. This…is fucking insane. But… fuck. I… Need to shake that man's hand. Or get him a drink. Or… a five star dinner, or something."

He doesn't stop her at all - it's palpable under her fingertips, that shorter swath. It's long enough now that if he cropped the rest down, it'd be a normal haircut for the time. "Yeah. I was confused as hell. It's not the first time I've died, though," he notes, still casual. "The Russians brought me back from the actual dead, according to what I was told. I was kind of flashfrozen in the Baltic, and sometimes, if that's how someone dies, you can slowly thaw them out and revive them."

"…weird. I'd say you should teach me that trick sometime but, I think when I die I want to stay there." Sharon comments quietly, with the tone of voice which has that faint echo of someone who has courted it in the past. Who might still be considering courting it. But, instead, she pulls out her pack of Lucky Strikes once her fingertips come away from the back of his head. "…how… How are you feeling now?" Her voice is softer there, the genuine brush of concern shining through.

"Better," he says, simply, as he sips his drink. "Yeah, I wanted to, too." But there's a shrug, with that ophidian whisper of metal scales. "I'm not suicidal, if that's what you're asking. Things are better for me. I've got…well, two jobs now. I've got a decent place to live, with room-mates who are friends. I'm about as safe as I can be without living in a maximum security prison. I don't know how to get my name cleared, unless someone can argue that I'm effectively serving a sentence at the government's discretion."

A faint smile crosses her lips, shoulders relaxing a touch. He is probably not in danger of being swatted again. She taps a smoke free from the slightly rumpled pack and she slips the filterless end between her lips. A strike of her lighter, then she offers the pack and lighter in his direction, if he'd like one. The same smokes she used to bring when he was in SHIELD's jail. Some things don't change. "I'm…I'm glad things are better. You've never been anything but a good guy to me. Well… after the initial trying to kill each other. But that wasn't you. So… I'm… glad. Honestly. You talked to SHIELD about that government discretion thing yet?"

HE takes the Lucky with gratitude. Someone just can't hack modern filtered cigarettes, the old relic. He lights up, takes a deep drag, and sighs out smoke - politely away from her face. "Oh, I've sold my soul to them," he says, without any hesitation at all. "I wanna be so valuable an asset I'll never get traded to the Russians or anyone else. You know who is in the middle of going to bat for me right now so that the FBI doesn't swoop in and cart me off under the espionage rules, or try some funny business disguised as military discipline. I was in uniform when I died, and now that someone's hastily scratched out the KIA that used to sit next to 'Barnes, James B., Sergeant 107th', that's a real possibility."

The blonde listens quietly, her jaw setting just a bit, not disappointed so much, but accepting of something. She takes a longer drag of her cigarette, exhaling the bitter smoke through her nose instead of her lips. It's a thoughtful motion and something that requires her not to speak while she does it. It gives her processing time. "…you trust SHIELD to… do that? To really go to bat for you?" She asks softly, her mind a thousand miles away. But then, it was never comfortable when she went back to visit him.

"You know who I trust to do that," Apparently Peggy is like Voldemort or Lucifer, not to be mentioned save when she's being invoked directly. "And I trust the people she's brought up. I can't say that about any other agency. I don't have a choice. If I submit myself to the legal system, military or otherwise, I will end up executed, no matter what kind of song and dance routine Steve and all his friends do in front of congress or the Joint Chiefs or whomever. I can't dangle out here in the cold forever - the Russians *will* get me. Or some part of the alphabet soup here - you and I both know just how goddamn dirty Hoover will play when it comes to getting what or who he wants for the Bureau. Johnson hasn't succeeded in drawing his fangs." He pauses, inhales deeply, exhales again. "But I'm a legit asset for them….I have a place. I'm not a stray dog. I'm a weapon in hand for the government, and a prybar to get at parts of the USSR they've wanted to for a long time. I'm not selling myself cheap."

Silence comes for a long few minutes after he says that. Sharon doesn't disagree, she just gives a slow, quiet nod to him and sucks on her cigarette like a lifeline. Her eyes close thoughtfully, reaching back somewhere else. Maybe out of instinct, or friendship, or booze, she leans a bit, so her bicep and shoulder are slightly resting against his metal arm. No shying away from it or treating it like anything other than a friend's arm she'd lean against. So, she leans there and smokes. The silence is almost uncomfortable, but both of them have learned to live in silence. In the moments between. Finally, her voice breaks, "…she called me the other day. Asked me over for tea. Told me I should come back to SHIELD… that my current bosses aren't ever going to get better."

"She's right," he says, soft as smoke. "And whatever family baggage you all have set aside, you know it. You know what you see when you look in the mirror. It's a dark dream out there and it doesn't reward waking, but you have to sometime. The sooner you wake, the more likely you are to survive the waking. Don't become of your own free will what they forced me to be. That's the only thing I can really know or say in my own defence - they made me. I had no choice." The next inhale is shaky, and he coughs a moment on the smoke. NEvermind that he was smoking those things for years before Sharon was ever born. "But I did the things they made me do, and I remember them all. Men, women, children. Prime ministers and scientists and priests and playwrights."

"…They never made me do those things. I could have walked away five years ago. I could have walked away when they pulled me out of Vietnam. I didn't. I… stayed. And I just kept doing them. I kept following orders." Sharon whispers quietly, staring at the whiskey in front of her even as something has grown heavy in her stomach. She takes another slow breath of her cigarette, no coughing for her. She's just dead now, shut down, no emotion to her voice. It's the easier place to go, when thinking about these things. "At least I know what I'm good at there. I… I don't want people thinking I'm just there because I got the name. I earned my position at work." And every mark on her soul with it.

"They'll use you up and wear you out. Do something, but don't stay in the field," Now there's real heat in his voice. "That's my point. Leave while you have a choice. Don't think you have anything to prove to a bunch of old men in dark rooms, pushing the lives of soldiers and spies around like pieces on a board. You think people won't think I'm just there because she's got a soft spot for old comrades in arms? I know some do….and others are just hoping I'll twitch the wrong way so they can avenge all the agents I killed. But it is what it is, and there's a job worth doing behind it. C'mon."

Sharon's eyes push shut a bit tighter, the memory of the conversation with Peggy firmly rearing it's head. She sighs, "…I… pissed her off, damn good, when I was there. She and I always… we fight. We're too alike. I resent the fact I'll never be as good as her and… she probably hates that I'm still almost young. We fight. It was messy. Crawling back now…" And there is the pride, that Carter pride, the pride that never let Peggy bend or break to anyone. And doesn't let Sharon either, even if it's making a true mess of things.

"Bullshit," he says, crudely. "You can be. You're letting the voice in your head tell you things that aren't true. Don't crawl. You're a grown woman. Apologize if you gotta, but don't let yourself be ground down by the Company because of family drama. There's being proud and then there's being pigheaded." A pause and he notes, "Do you know how much breath I wasted in the war trying to argue her and Steve out of stupid shit? Hell, they got me out of HYDRA's hands only because I wasn't there when they planned the mission to tell them what a pair of suicidal idiots they were being."

Another few moments of silence, Sharon looking down into the last few drops of her whiskey. She sighs deeply as she stabs her cigarette, "…maybe I'm just scared. Realize I go there and I'll figure out that it's true. They're right. I… couldn't ever actually be as good as her. I never went up against HYDRA. Never won a war. I'm just a girl from New York who grew up on stories that she can't ever live up to…" Sharon seems to realize quite how awful that sounds and she shakes her head, standing up a touch unsteadily. "…I'm shitty company tonight. We…we should catch up when I'm better. Gonna go upstairs and sleep it off.." She tosses a fiver down on the bar. The man behind the bar does not seem surprised that Sharon is going upstairs.

"Jesus H Roosevelt Christ, Sharon," Buck says, but he sound merely exasperated rather than furious. "Listen to you. Tell me about it - that was Steve and me, his dad dead in the war, someone he could never live up to. Mine wrecked by it…..I was dirt poor. I was nobody and we were all sure Steve'd never live to see twentyone. And then…." He spreads his hands wide. "Here I am. With all that shit behind me. Get over your little girl fantasies about the all mighty Aunt and the Commandos. You know we all have feet of clay."

The annoyed tone of Bucky's voice is enough to stop her from fully turning to go upstairs. She pauses, just taking a breath and then looking back up to him. Her smirk just deepens towards the end of it, though, and she shakes her head quietly. "You don't have feet of clay. None of you. You were fucking heroes who did the impossible. They will be talking about all of you in a hundred years. And… come from shitty backgrounds or not, none of that matters. What you DID matters. Taking down HYDRA like that… busting open more Nazi base camps than someone can count on one hand. You did the impossible and you know it. How the hell do I live up to that? THey won't even LET me on the front lines. Don't you think I'd be over there fighting if I COULD?"

"We need to discuss this elsewhere," Bucky's voice is a little dry. But he's risen from his seat, hastily taking care of tab and tip. "Yes, we do, Sharon. We're not superhumans, and we're not gods. I'm an amputee veteran with combat fatigue from a war that's been over for nineteen years." He ambles towards her. "You get out and you do what you can. Join back up and you will be at the front, I guarantee it," he says, more calmly. "What're you gonna do? Keep wasting time with your current bosses until you crawl into a bottle and drown? C'mon, if a gimpy old man can get out there, surely a fit young woman can."

A deep sigh escapes her lips, "…You're not a gimpy old man." SHe grumbles at him, but she nods towards the stairs that go behind the bar. Apparently, she's a regular up there too, as the bartender doesn't even blink as she heads in that direction and she pulls a set of keys out of her back pocket. She doesn't say anything else while she leads the way up to Luke Cage's simple, rather clean apartment with a beat up, comfortable old couch and plenty of whisky. She's headed straight to that whisky's direction once she shuts and locks the door behind them. "SHIELD still has people at the front? I mean…I know the CIA has a few but… I'm not one of them unless there's a specific target."

"I don't know much of it, I'm the new boy on the block," he says. "But I'd be dollars to pennies they've got people there. They're international, I'm sure they're not sitting on their hands when it comes to that growing mess," Buck says, as he follows her. "C'mon. Rejoin the competent team, you're way too good for those bozos."

If Bucky is feeling really observant, there are touches of Sharon around the apartment. And possibly another woman, as there is no way that jacket on the back of a chair fits her, but it's clearly a woman's coat. Sharon grabs an ashtray off the liquor cabinet and brings it over with the bottle of whisky, but she doesn't sit yet, she just stares at him. "You're not a gimp, for one. I'm gonna say it again. And you're probably better than I am one armed even if you took that miracle arm off. You all are… legends. THere's no changing that. I… I don't have that in me. I ain't that person. So… it's better to stay where I can at least… stand out. Be the best."

Now she's spurred him to actual anger. Bucky the guy who laughs it all off when he can. Not Winter's lack of affect, that terrible automaton, the relentless pursuer. But even what must've come from some innate stubbornness in him. Who else can heeldrag his way into making even Captain America yield, sometimes? "Goddammit," he says. And there's another one, blashphemy. "Sharon, we didn't start out that way. No hand of God came down and touched me or Steve and made us what we are. You do. You've got some princessy complex - it's better to be a cog in a machine that works and works well, than somewhere where you get treated like a special fucking flower. There's nothing to be proud of in being the best hired killer, Sharon. I'm sure fucking not, and I'm one of the best there is." He pulls a face and parrots back, in an imitation of her voice, "I need to stay where I can stand out above a bunch of hackjobs and psychos, rather than with a team of competent people." He drops the mimicry. "Who is this *for*, Sharon? It's not *for* you. It's not *for* me. It's *for* the people we keep safe, all the little John and Jane Q. Publics who get to sleep safer in their beds because SHIELD is making sure things don't go south in whatever way. Steve and Peggy and I didn't go to war to get medals pinned on us or have our faces pasted on posters. We did it because it needed to be done. Act like a fucking Carter instead of a spoiled schoolgirl, and cowboy up."

The woman takes it all siletly, the words buffeting against her like some vicious, stinging rain. Especially because he's not wrong, even about the princess thing. Sharon — raised and told she WAS special, because she WAS a Carter, she'd go do great things — it gets under somoene's skin after a while, in the weirdest ways. Her jaw tightens as he continues on, a strike of anger across her face and even the smallest bit of pouts, but she's doing her best to swallow that back because for all his yelling she knows he's not wrong either. She just curses softly beneath her breath, finally looking down and away, grabbing out her cigarettes again with a slightly shaking hand. "You know, you coulda just punched me. Woulda hurt less." She half grumble growls at him, but there is a brush of teasing behind it.

Once she gets her cigarette going, she hands the pack in his direction with a slightly apologetic motion and then just sighs, "…you're right, though…and no, it's not about us. It's… about keeping them safe. That's what I fucking say every time I DO go out there to… to take someone out. To do those shit jobs. Because it'll keep more people safe at home. How else do you sleep at night? I know I barely do as is… If I don't stay, they'll send someone else. SOmeone who… might not finish the job. Fuck, Bucky…I don't know."

He makes one of those little moues, the facial equivalent of a shrug. "I don't hit women if I can help it," he says, easily. "And did it hurt? Good. Because if you won't take the talking-to form your aunt, maybe you'll hear it from me." No drink for him, and no cigarettes, this time. He's in Sergeant Barnes mode, it seems. "Someone else can. Someone else will. The bitter truth for everyone is no matter what your mama told you, you ain't that special. Nor am I. We're replaceable." He paces the apartment, a little. "The second bitter truth is that people get ground down, and you sure are. Look at you. If you need to crawl through a bottle to sleep or face yourself in the mirror, then it's time to take a big step back. You're heading right into the drunken fuck up, and that's when people get dead. YOu, and quite possibly all the agents depending on you. I'll tell you something," And for a moment, it's Winter looking out of his eyes, that stare as inhuman as a wolf's, "The agents in the field too long were the easiest to kill. They got sloppy, even the old hands. That's how I got a lot of the American agents I did. They'd been run to exhaustion."

Sergeant Barnes is a smart man, no matter how much Sharon hates it. She takes a longer drag of her cigarette, well into the burn out stage so the cigarettes keep her going. Her eyes shut quietly a few heartbeats, looking for other arguments to toss back in his direction and, ultimately, failing. She finally tips her head in a quiet motion of giving in, pale eyes reopening to look up at his handsome face. "…fine. Fine… I… I'll give notice. Go crawling back to my aunt. Fine. When'd you get so fucking smart?" She half smirks.

"I was always the smart one," he replies, apparently entirely serious. "Just ask Steve. I'm the reason he survived to adulthood. And no need to crawl. Turn in your papers, walk in. Surely the best the Company can bring will be equal of what we got at SHIELD, right?"

Another smirk crosses her lips, deeper this time. Sharon gives a bitter, tired sort of laugh, "Yeah, but you weren't there for the fight between Aunt Peggy and I. We… are very good at yelling at each other. Or worse. Being quiet with each other. That… that hasn't changed." Maybe there was more than one reason Sharon didn't stay with SHIELD all that long. She gives a faint shrug and stretches her hand out, ashing her cigarette in that tray. "…Happy now? You win and are the smartest. Should get you a fuckin' trophy."

"I get it. My dad and I used to yell at each other a lot. But you won't be directly under her, I bet. Don't worry about it. YOu're not sixteen, we're a bunch of professionals." Buck snorts. "I'm just happy to be alive, really."

The smirk turns into a bit softer a smile, tired eyes watching him for several moments. "I…I'm happy your alive too. I… missed you. Sorry, I've been… gone a lot. and I'm shitty at this friendship thing too, I guess. But… I missed you." She confesses quietly, taking a step closer. Maybe this is a time for a hug? She's really not sure, so she just stands there, watching him with vaguely concerned eyes.

On that front, he has no hesitation. Buck pulls her into a hug. "I know how crappy that kind of work can be," he says. He smells of soap and cigarette smoke, of metal and the tang of oil. "You know, you might well get to be my partner."

The hug is strange. Sharon really wasn't expecting it and she tenses for a moment or two, heart in her throat, but then she lets herself lean into it. She relaxes just a touch more and exhales quietly against his throat, letting her head sink into the crook of his neck. She just relaxes there a minute or two. Hugs feel good, once you stop fighting them. She smells like whiskey, cigarettes and a touch of feminine sweat. It's been a long day. Her hair smells like vanilla, though, and that might be nicer. "Oh, come on, you know they wouldn't put us together. You can keep up with me, old man." She mutters into his throat.

"Betcha they do," he insists, patting her on the back. There's the faintest scent of something - aftershave, maybe? Shampoo? Only then does he look around. "…..are you staying here?" he asks, belatedly.

Finally, she straightens up a bit, after the back patting. Not too much emotions! They are complicated and will take over your brain if you live in them too long. She gives a bit of a grunt and collapses down onto the comfortable old couch. "Uh…sometimes. Not like…full time. It's weird. But Luke's a good guy and Jessica comes over a lot and… it's… well, not like I actually have 'home' right now, so it works. Here, or that spare room up with Steve and company… or a hotel room. Safer not to stay in one place."

Buck shrugs, lazily. "That's like me. I've got a few places I crash. Mostly with Kai and Serrure. They just moved house to a bigger place. I've got my own bedroom now, it's crazy. I never have before."

"That's good! …Hell, that sounds sorta like a home and like you got roommates, and that's good. I think it's healthy to actually have a place. I'm… happy for you. Really." That's not just her forcing it. She's rather proud of him, and happy to see there can be life after governmental assassin work. Sharon leans over, pouring herself a good draught of the whisky, finally. "Generally just easier to stay here after we… enjoy ourselves. Luke's a good guy. So is Jess." Is she… swinging? Much less swinging with a black guy? That seems to be what her words imply, though she's not come out and said it.

It doesn't seem to register with him, somehow. "It's better than it was," he says, and then makes one of those faces. "Anything woulda been. But I figure staying at the Avengers' place'd be real safe. I crash there sometimes." A glance at the bottle, but neither a request nor criticism follows. She's a grown-ass woman after all.

"Well… that's… that's good. Maybe I'll see you at the mansion, if not work, at some point. But…I should crash. Who knows when Luke's gonna get home, if he's this late already. I do need to actually report in tomorrow, if I'm doing this…" Sharon still doesn't seem fully enthused, but she is convinced, he's done that much.

"Good. I'll see you there," He has sense enough to know when not to press a point, it seems. "And if I don't, I'll come looking," Buck adds, punctuating it with a grin. Because that won't bring back bad memories of him stalking her as the Winter Soldier.

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