|The Pen is Mightier! (penismightier) wrote in chaotic_library,|
@ 2016-07-23 15:45:00
|Entry tags:||bruce banner, bucky barnes, maria hill, marvel, novel, r-rated, sharon carter, steve rogers, tony stark, yuuo, yuuo: marvel|
[Bucky Barnes; R] Uncivil War: Chapter 11
Character/Series: Bucky Barnes; Marvel Cinematic Universe
Notes: There is PG-13 level talk of sex at the beginning. Be warned.
Title: Uncivil War- Chapter 11: The Smell Of Sunshine
Word Count: 4488
Summary: Time alone with Maria was always relaxing, a treat that he hadn't been indulging in nearly as much as he needed to lately.
as black as the night can get
everything is safer now
there's always a way to forget
once you learn to find a way how
i've done all i can do
could i please come with you?
sweet smell of sunshine
i remember sometimes
-Nine Inch Nails
Time alone with Maria was always relaxing, a treat that he hadn't been indulging in nearly as much as he needed to lately. They rarely hopped right into sex, spending more time talking and cuddling that both greatly enjoyed.
Conversation would give way to dirty flirting, then slowly into teasing Maria until she got annoyed at him for denying her and demanding he either have mercy, or she'd turn the tables and she'd be even worse than he thought he was.
He always indulged her.
In fact, that's how they spent most of their hours in the bed together, with Bucky less concerned for himself and more focused on Maria. He had gotten quite good at giving her multiples more than once a night. She'd try to reciprocate, but even an enhanced male body with high endurance couldn't quite manage what her body was capable of. (Although sometimes he thought she came damn close to proving him wrong on that.)
It was the middle of the night- her alarm clock showed 3:14 in the morning -when they finally came back down to earth. Maria snuggled down under his left arm's grip, nuzzling his neck and placing tiny kisses up along his jaw.
He practically purred at the contact. "I thought we were done," he said. "You said you were tired."
"I am," she said, snuggling back down to his shoulder. "For now. At least before I take a shower."
There was a low grumble of thunder overhead, those dark clouds from earlier that evening apparently giving way to a proper storm. Maria frowned, sitting up. "I think we might be done. Can you get your pants on and go check out the hallway window? Watch for the lightning, then count how many seconds there are before you hear thunder."
Bucky raised his eyebrows, but finished detangling himself from holding her. "Afraid of the storm? I didn't take you for one to be afraid of thunder."
"I'm not," she said as he pulled on his night pants from his overnight bag. "But you're not supposed to shower in a lightning storm and I want to know if I have time before the storm gets here to shower, or if I should wait until tomorrow."
He stood and flashed her a flirtatious look. "You could always shower tomorrow and I can join you."
She gave him an exasperated look. "I'll join you for your shower tomorrow morning. But I want to shower tonight if possible. Please go check?"
"Anything for you, pretty lady," Bucky said, then stepped out of the room and went down the hall to the lone window there.
Outside, there was a lot of wind, though no rain had fallen yet. He waited until he saw a flash of lightning and began counting the seconds. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Jesus, how long did this take? Six. Seven. Then eight hit and there was the growl of the sky responding to the flash. He turned and went back to Maria's room. "I counted eight," he said once he's shut the door behind him.
"Good," she said, crawling out of bed. "That's almost two miles, I should have just enough time to shower before that hits here."
He leaned back against the wall, watching her head into the bathroom, appreciative of her complete lack of clothing before the bathroom door shut. Once the door was closed, he took his overnight bag to the desk and pulled out the Winter Soldier files. It wasn't really an appropriate time for a trip down that particular memory lane, but he had little else to do while the sheets dried out from sweat and various other bodily fluids.
After a minute or two, deciding he still couldn't find anything in there that would help at all with the ongoing animosity between him and Steve, he put them away and sat back, pushing his mind away from that problem and back to Maria, to how it'd feel to lay back down and hold her in his arms again. Just for the comfort. For the way it made it seem like nothing else mattered.
He jumped when he heard Maria shriek, followed by a loud thunk, and he was on his feet immediately and into the bathroom, all but ripping the door of its hinges with the urgency to get to her.
She was splayed down in the bath tub, against the far wall from the spray, looking dazed. On the wall behind her was a trail of blood.
"Maria!" He almost tripped on the bath rug in his haste to get to her. "Maria, you okay? Talk to me." He didn't want to move her until he'd confirmed that her neck hadn't suffered any injury in her fall.
"I- I'm okay," she said, sounding uncertain about her own assessment.
Bucky reached over and turned off the shower spray, then turned back to Maria. "Your neck doesn't hurt, does it?"
She shook her head, slowly, but she did it, which told him better than her answer of 'no' that her neck was likely fine. Deciding she could be moved, he carefully picked her up in his arms and out of the bath tub. He laid her down on the bath rug, petting back her hair once she was down. "Do you need me to get Bruce? You're bleeding."
"Maybe," she said, eyes darting around the room as if trying to find something she could focus on.
"All right, I'll get him," Bucky said, grabbing two towels off her towel rack. He folded one up and gently put it under her head to stop the bleeding, then draped the other across her torso for modesty until she decided it was okay for a full body inspection if Bruce thought she needed one. He couldn't imagine why, but he wasn't the doctor, Bruce was.
Bucky didn't even get a chance to get to the door before he heard his friends outside, someone knocking on the door and Steve's voice calling his name and asking what happened and was everything all right?
He opened the door to see all three of the other Avengers crowded around the door. "Bruce, we need you. Maria fell in the shower and hit her head."
"Is she bleeding?" Bruce asked, crowding away the other two but not entering without permission.
"Yeah," Bucky said. "I don't know what caused the fall, she seems too out of it to say."
Bruce muscled his way in. "I've got this. Bucky, you're with me. You two go back to your rooms, get your comms, we'll call as soon as we have her checked over."
Thank you, Bruce. Bucky wasn't sure how to handle those two in his frantic worry over Maria.
He shut the door on them and followed Bruce back. "I didn't ask what made her fall," Bucky said. "She's really dazed and I was more concerned with her head and possible neck injury."
"You did the right thing then," Bruce said, stepping into the bathroom.
Maria carefully turned her head, squeezing her eyes shut as if that made the room spin, then offered Bruce a weak smile. "How far did he have to go to get you?"
"You already sound better than what Bucky described," Bruce said, kneeling by her. "And to answer your question, we were all at the door. We heard your scream, it didn't sound like a fun time scream."
Bucky stepped around Maria to crouch down opposite Bruce, and took her hand. She gave it a weak squeeze. "It wasn't," he said. "I was at the desk when I heard it. She screamed, then must've hit the wall, because I heard a loud thump right after it."
Bruce studied Maria's eyes, holding up a finger. "How many fingers do you see?"
"One," she answered. "I don't have double vision, Bruce, everything's just spinning and my head hurts. I've had migraines that hurt worse."
"Maybe," Bruce said. "But you did hit your head. I'm not that worried about the blood, head injuries cause bleeding easier than most other injuries, even minor ones. Now, tell me what happened? Did you slip and fall? Soap, maybe?"
Maria frowned, closing her eyes. "No. Something hit me on the head from the water. It felt hot. I think I underestimated how far away that storm was."
Bruce leaned over her, examining her head. "There's a burn mark here in your hair line. You think you got hit by electricity?"
Bruce continued to study the mark, gently feeling the skin around it, pushing live hair away from the spot where she got hit, a spot where her hair had gotten burned off. "It's a first degree burn, I'd expect more from a lightning strike. Do you mind if I look at the rest of you for signs of that?"
"You're the doctor," she said, keeping her eyes closed and her hand in Bucky's.
"I'll try not to get too personal," Bruce said, then pulled aside her towel, examining her for ... what, Bucky wasn't sure. He just continued to grip Maria's hand and watch Bruce, hoping like hell that Bruce would declare her unhurt except for the concussion and the burn on her head. It'd leave the mystery of what caused it, but at least it'd assure him that Maria wasn't seriously injured.
Bucky saw Maria give him a turning her head to look at him out of the corner of his eye that accompanied a tighter grip on his hand. He looked down at her and gave her a reassuring smile. "You'll be okay," he said. "Bruce is the best."
"I know." She closed her eyes again.
"Thank you for the compliment," Bruce said, somewhat distracted. "I'm seeing signs of very faint Lichtenberg Figures along your torso and up to your neck," he said. "Too light for me to think it was lightning, but I won't rule it out." He covered her back up and looked at her. "You said something hit you? And it felt hot? Did you see any light before it hit?"
Bruce frowned, leaning over to once again look at the burn spot where hair had been. "Well, good news, it's a first degree burn, all you really need is some cold water to bring down the heat and some neosporin, which I have in my office. It's going to be tender, and I'm going to try to wrap it with a non-stick pad and a type of medical tape that only sticks to itself and not your hair or skin to hold it in place, just to keep your hair from making contact and irritating the skin."
"You sounded like there might be bad news," Bucky said.
Bruce tapped his fist over his mouth for a moment. "She's got what I would consider a mild concussion, nothing some painkillers and sleep won't fix, but I'm wondering why that strike was such a weak one. Lightning doesn't really pull punches."
Bucky felt himself grow hot with anger. "You think our ghost did this?"
"Possibly," Bruce said. "It'd explain why the hit was so relatively weak."
"Bucky, my hand," Maria protested quietly with a whimper.
Bucky loosened his grip on her. "Sorry."
Bruce stood. "Bucky, help her get dressed, please? I'd like to get a better look at that burn and wrap it. Contact the others, even though I think they probably didn't go back to their rooms. I don't have my comm on me."
Bucky nodded, then looked at Maria. "Think we can get you upright?"
"With help," Maria admitted.
Bucky turned his comm on while he and Bruce helped her to her feet. "Steve, Sharon? You there?"
"Just waiting for answers," Sharon said. "We're both waiting in the hall."
Sigh. Bucky saw that one coming.
Bucky and Bruce both wrapped an arm around her shoulders and helped her sit up before pushing for a standing position. "Maria got jolted with something in the shower," Bucky answered through the comm. "It knocked her back, she just hit her head, she's fine. We're taking her to the medlab now."
"Jolted?" Steve asked. "Like by electricity?"
"Just like that," Bucky said. "Ready, Bruce?"
"As soon as Maria's ready," he replied.
Maria took two deep breaths. "I'm ready."
Carefully, they helped Maria to her feet. She wobbled, but stayed upright with their help. Bruce grabbed the bloodied towel from behind her head off the ground and handed it to Bucky. "Have her keep that pressed against the wound while you dress her. I'll update the others and attempt to shoo them away."
"Good luck with that," Bucky said, holding the towel in his hand, arm around her waist, his other hand occupied holding hers. He turned off his comm, since Bruce was there to update them.
Bucky waited until he heard the room door shut and Bruce outside, talking to the others before he led Maria into the bedroom. The other two were right outside there, Bucky didn't want to give them an eyeful by having her parading naked by an open door.
Maria started to shiver. "Bucky?"
Bucky stopped, helping her stay upright. "Yeah?"
"I can make it to the bed. Will you grab that towel in there and help me dry off? Clothes don't fit right on wet skin."
Bucky didn't question her, just let her go and watched her wobble a bit before sitting down on the edge of the bed. Satisfied that she wasn't going to fall again, he went back into the bathroom and grabbed the towel. She had the folded towel still pressed firmly against the back of her head.
"Still bleeding?" he asked, getting up on the bed and sitting behind her to start helping her dry off.
"I'm not sure," she said, still shivering. Before he could even ask, she told him, "I'm cold, don't worry about the shaking. I'm fine otherwise, just cold and wet."
"You read my mind," he said. "Glad to hear that's all it is." He carefully dried her off, squeezing excess water from her hair without pulling on the back of her head where the bleeding was, then working his way down her shoulders and back. Once her skin felt dry back there, he got off the bed and helped her dry her front side and her legs. She had to stand to get the back of her legs and her wet backside dried.
She was still shivering when he pulled out her night pants and shirt- a basic set of sweat pants with the SHIELD logo on them and a plain white shirt. He paused, looking at the shirt, then put it back, looking for and finally finding her darker shirt. No longer wet or not, that white shirt might be a bit revealing around the others.
Once she was dressed (and feeling warmer), he helped her stay steady down the hallway, special care taken at the stairs, to the point that the last set of stairs he had to carry her because her legs didn't want to hold her quite right, but she insisted on not needing carrying the rest of the way to the medlab.
Steve and Sharon were already there, outside the door to the medlab. They obviously weren't being let in.
"Is she okay?" Steve asked, watching them both with concern.
"I'm fine," she said. "Just a little unsteady."
"We'll see," Bruce said from the doorway of the medlab as Bucky helped Maria into the room, Steve and Sharon parting like the Red Sea in front of them, then rejoining, Steve holding Sharon, both looking worried.
Bucky would cheer that normal interaction between them later.
Bruce backed up to let them in. "Come take a seat, I wanna get a closer look at her injuries."
Maria didn't argue as Bucky got her to a chair. "You're the doctor," she said.
"Oh good, a cooperative patient," Bruce said, parting her wet hair in the back and gently pressing around for signs of the bleeding wound. "Certain patients around here are argumentative." He flashed Bucky a pointed look.
"Don't look at me," Bucky said. "I have a higher limit of what I can take before I need your help, and you don't agree with me as to where that is." Bucky almost pointed out Steve wasn't any better, but decided against it. If it annoyed Steve, there might be another squabble, and he didn't have the energy for that shit, and it would take focus off of Maria.
"I don't see any more bleeding," Bruce said. "There's blood in your hair, you'll need to wash that out, but I suspect you may not want a shower just now."
"I'd rather wait," Maria agreed. "After the storm's passed."
Bruce moved around to examine the burn just past her hairline. "Showering in a lightning storm isn't recommended, no." He picked up a partly folded towel wrapped around something thick, and placed it gently over the burn. She winced. "It's an ice pack," Bruce said. "I don't want to run water over it, not with the storm, but the ice can draw some of the heat out, then I'll put on that ointment and bandage it."
Sharon poked her head in the room, Steve just above her, releasing her enough to look in. "So what happened? She just got shocked in the shower?"
"She has some faint Lichtenberg Figures on her neck and chest," Bruce said. "They're tiny marks that branch out where electric current went through a material. It's like a snapshot of the current. I would expect something more severe and a deeper burn with lightning, but it's hard to say. Either way, she got lucky and the current was in the range that you can survive a blast. Too low and it'll kill you and too high and it'll kill you. Getting struck by lightning is survivable, and with the storm, it could've easily been that. I would just expect more than a first degree burn from it."
"Think it's our unfriendly ghost who thinks it's funny to shoot electricity across the room at us?" Steve asked. Bucky gave him a sidelong look, wondering if he was hearing an accusation that they should've left the first time or if he was misreading Steve all together and that was nothing but concern.
He decided to ignore it, whichever it was.
"It's possible," Bruce said, pulling on gloves. "I wouldn't rule it out, although it'd be the first time she actually hurt anyone."
"If it's her, we should go," Steve said. He looked at Bucky, clearly winding up for an argument.
Bucky wasn't in the mood for it, so he kept what he wanted to say to himself, and motioned towards Maria instead. "Her call. If she thinks it wasn't Kitty, or Kitty wasn't trying to be malicious, then we'll stay until we can get her not to do that shit. If she thinks Kitty did this deliberately, damn right we're getting out of here. But we tried to run once on a scare without fully investigating, I'm not doing it again if there's no reason to."
Maria held perfectly still while Bruce carefully dabbed some ointment on the burn, although her face occasionally contorted into one of low grade pain. "I don't think it was her," she said. "I should've known better than to shower in bad weather. I thought I could beat it and I shouldn't have."
She looked at them out of the corner of her eye. "And if it was Kitty, I don't think she meant to hurt me. She's a child who died a horrible way and probably doesn't know any other way of communicating with us right now. I don't think it was malicious, and as much as I'd like to go home, Bucky's right. We ran once on a scare that we could've handled ourselves, and we shouldn't do it again until we're absolutely sure it's something we can't take care of."
"I don't know," Sharon said. "If we're not even safe to shower, should we really stick around?"
"Just don't shower during a lightning storm," Maria said, wincing again as Bruce pressed a nonstick piece of gauze on the burn spot. "Bucky, tell them we're not leaving. My head hurts too much to argue about it right now."
Bucky looked back at the other two. "You heard the lady, we're staying. She doesn't think there's danger, there probably isn't any. We'll just keep our eyes out and try to contact Kitty once we have that recorder. If that really works and she says anything worrisome, we'll bail."
He didn't actually mean that; if Kitty turned out to throw too many dangerous temper tantrums, the little bitch was going to go, one way or another. But he wasn't about to make any indication that he'd be willing to burn the place to the ground to get rid of her where she could hear.
While Bruce finished securing the bandage to Maria's injury, Bucky looked at Steve. "You still gonna be okay without me tonight?" he asked, voice lowered.
Steve nodded. "I'll be fine. Even if I weren't, she shouldn't be left alone."
Bucky patted his arm. "I'm gonna have my comm on until I fall asleep, dunno when. But if you wake up, I might be around. Just check your comm."
"You should sleep."
"I'm not sure I'll be able to for awhile. Relax, I'll get some sleep at some point."
"At some point?"
Bucky shrugged, but didn't get to otherwise answer when Bruce declared Maria fit to go back to bed with some Advil for her headache, and she was under strict orders to sleep.
"I think I can handle that," she said, standing up, a bit unsteady, but kept her balance walking over to Bucky and Steve. "I'm taking him back," she told Steve.
Steve sidestepped, motioning with one arm out of the medlab. "He's all yours, ma'am."
"Generous," she said, looping her arm through Bucky's left arm, using him for balance.
"You gonna be okay to climb stairs?" Bucky asked.
"I'll make it," Maria replied.
It was slow going, Maria having to test each step to make sure it was more stable than it looked to her, but once she found her footing on the top step, she walked with a bit more certainty. She kept her grip on his arm, but she walked a straight enough line to pass a drunk driving test.
He knew she was in enough pain still that she shouldn't be able to do that; there were many reasons he was dating her, and her ability to keep going through whatever was being thrown at her was one of them.
Once they were back in her room and Bucky had assured the others following them back up the stairs that everything was going to be fine, he locked her door. She was sitting on the edge of her bed, bent over with her head in her hands.
"You're not as okay as you pretended you were, are you?" Bucky asked, sitting down next to her.
She took in a deep breath. "I can keep going," she said. "But I don't have to right now." She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye with a faint smile. "It's a rest period, I can nurse my wounds now."
"You're starting to speak my language and that scares me," Bucky said. "Is there anything I can get you before I make you lay down and sleep off that headache?"
"My towel?" she said. "The back of my head is bloody, and I don't feel like rinsing it right now, I need something on my pillow to keep the blood off my pillow case."
"Consider it done," he said, getting up.
He got her settled into bed, two Advil with a healthy swallow of water, towel folded on her pillow, and his metal arm draped over her to give her the feeling of safety. Bucky stayed propped up on his flesh arm, watching her with his comm on, listening in for anyone turning theirs on. He had it on mostly for Steve, in case Steve needed him for something important enough to drag him out of bed.
And there was that expected call.
Bucky replied with a very quiet voice, careful to not wake up Maria. "Yeah?"
"She's really okay, right?"
"She's sleeping off the headache. She'll feel like hell tomorrow, but yes, she's fine."
There was a long pause, but he could still hear Steve's faint heart beat; the the chips were positioned close enough to carotid artery for the sound to sometimes be heard in the absence of words.
"Talk to me," Bucky said. "Something's on your mind."
Another pause, but it was finally interrupted by Steve's voice. "Are you sure we should stay here?"
Damnit, not this again.
"I trust Maria's judgement," Bucky said. "She spent years as the deputy director of SHIELD, she knows how to assess a situation for danger. She might be wrong, sure, and we'll keep our eyes open, but for now, I think we should trust Maria on this one. If she's wrong, we'll pack up and leave. Tony's gotta have somewhere that's not haunted for us if this situation turns dangerous. And if not, we'll go back to the Tower and just sit in isolation there until we get our problems solved enough that we're not potential dangers."
Steve didn't answer that right away; Bucky hadn't expected him to, being called a potential danger to his home and friends probably didn't rest well with Steve. "You really think we're both a danger?"
Bucky resisted a sigh. "I know I am," he admitted. "And everything I've seen you do since I came back for my sake, I'm willing to bet you would be too. Don't let just that file teach you about Hydra. Now shut up and go to sleep. I don't wanna wake up Maria by accident and I don't feel up for another fight."
He gave Steve a few moments to form an answer, and when there was none coming, he continued. "Do you need me over there?" he asked, voice calmer, worried that he'd heard fear when Bucky pointed out that Steve was a danger too.
"No," Steve said. "Not as much as she does. I'm a grown man, I can handle a night on my own."
"I'm sure. Go to sleep, Bucky. We're okay. I'll take over watching the group while you take care of Maria."
That actually got a faint smile out of Bucky. Hearing Steve acting like his partner again did his heart good. "Good night, Steve. I'll see you in the morning."
Bucky laid his head down on his pillow, carefully arranging his flesh arm to a comfortable position without waking Maria and turned off his comm.
He fell asleep to the sounds of Maria breathing.