|The Pen is Mightier! (penismightier) wrote in chaotic_library,|
@ 2016-08-04 15:17:00
|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 14
Character/Series: Bucky Barnes; Marvel Cinematic Universe
Notes: Steve, oh Steve. You precious child.
Title: Uncivil War- Chapter 14: Step Away From The Ledge
Word Count: 5188
Summary: The mission was a failure.
it's caving in around me
what i thought was solid ground
i tried to look the other way
but i couldn't turn around
it's okay for you to hate me
for all the things i've done
i've made a few mistakes
but i'm not the only one
-Five Finger Death Punch
The mission was a failure. The mission was to get Steve out of that lab, safe and whole. He had failed in that. The Soldier wanted to let go of Steve and his promise of 'to the end of the line' and disappear before someone got rid of him for being a faulty weapon.
But the brain, the body, belonged to Bucky, and regardless of the overwhelming sense of betrayal he felt, Bucky had made that same 'to the end of the line' and with Bucky, that was a platonic way of saying "'til death do we part."
It left them with no choice but to remain in that lab, to stand helplessly by and watch Steve refuse to get up and leave with him. Forced to remain in the past until Steve was willing to get up and go back to the present with them.
Assuming Bucky would let him come with. His emotions were running high at the moment, too high to be able to deal with Steve, so he turned to his last coping method that didn't involve overdosing on drugs.
He made himself a new mission and put the Soldier in charge.
The new mission was to find out all information possible about the ghost named Catherine, rather 'Kitty', and ensure that she was friendly, or at least not antagonistic. If she was friendly, she was a possible ally in keeping the grounds safe. If she was neutral, they could organize spaces that were hers and spaces that belonged to the Avengers and negotiate peaceful interactions in mutual areas.
Bucky added that the kitchen and the work room were absolutely off limits.
Yes, Bucky, we will be sure of that.
Of course, their ghost hunting was delayed a bit by Bucky's destruction of the EMF detector. The Soldier didn't like the set back, but all things considered, that wasn't the worst they could've done, so he didn't scold.
"Bucky, we're ready for you-" Bruce stopped in the doorway, studying the Soldier's flat expression, and probably noting the red eyes that were evidence of Bucky's crying. He looked ready to ask, then glanced over the counter as if looking for something, before noticing the wall."Oh, Bucky," he said in dismay. He stared at the hole in the wall with the cracked and ruined detector hanging out of it. "What'd Steve say that got you this upset?"
"The friendship's over," the Soldier said in an attempt at a matter-of-fact tone, although both he and Bucky desperately wanted to show far more of the whirlwind of emotions in the mind. But those emotions would be distracting to their current mission, and the Soldier knew when to keep a grip on his emotions, which was almost always.
It wasn't like either one of them knew how to put them into words anyway.
Bruce started to pry the device out of the wall before pausing and looking back at the Soldier. After a second, he heaved a deep breath. "I'm talking to the Soldier, aren't I?"
"You are. Bucky is upset, there is work to do, he'll have to approach his emotions at a better time."
Bruce yanked the detector free. "Who decided the friendship was over?" he asked, walking over to the counter with it. He was handling the Soldier with care; the Soldier himself was hard to deal with, and a loaded statement about Steve and Bucky's friendship like that made him unpredictable. He was cold and flat, but Bucky wasn't, and Bruce understood that they were really the same person. So which side of their personality would win out was a big question mark.
"It was mutual," the Soldier said, getting a mental grip on Bucky's protest to that. "It was never explicitly stated, however, so perhaps there is still hope." Maybe. Bucky would have to be the one to grant that forgiveness, because the Soldier did not want to. "Would you like a mission report?"
"I wouldn't call it that, but it'd be nice to know what was said," Bruce said, holding the detector and keeping a bit of distance between himself and the Soldier.
"Steve has been using art to record memories as they come back, as he was instructed," the Soldier said. "A certain sketchbook came to our attention that implied that Steve was perhaps avoiding remembering anything regarding us after moving to the Tower. Bucky asked him about it, Steve said nothing, and refused to acknowledge Bucky's statement that he trusted him. He left."
Bruce shook his head, setting the ruined device on the work table. "I can't believe Steve would do that."
"You think my report is inaccurate?"
"No," Bruce said with a heaved sigh. "I can talk to him, or get Sharon to talk to him. He seems more attached to her than anyone."
"She's his romantic partner, of course he is," the Soldier said. Really, Bruce, did that have to be stated?
Bruce gave him a weary stare over his glasses. "With you, I can't tell when you're being serious or when you're being sarcastic."
The Soldier quirked one eyebrow, the only sign of irritation he showed. Bruce, you're saying a lot of dumb things right now. "Remember my training and then assume I am never sarcastic. Sarcasm is a good way to get into unneeded trouble."
"Which is why you don't think in words anymore, I remember," Bruce said. "Your tone just sometimes reminds me of Maria's when we're discussing important things. It's hard to tell with her."
"An admirable ability that she has had the safety to use," the Soldier pointed out. Then he looked at the device, keeping his expression flat. "Let me see what can be salvaged." He uncurled his legs out of the way and picked the detector off the table. He looked over it, under it, around it, examining the circuit and the connected parts. "We need a new voltage regulator. I can fix the battery case. It will need to be resoldered. The voltmeter is cracked, but not in a place that will make it unreadable." He set the detector down, withholding a noise of disgust. "A minor set back. Sharon will have to go alone to pick up a replacement part, unless the team decides that the waiting time for your facial hair is acceptable." He looked at Bruce. "I do not, but I'm not the leader, it's a group decision."
Bruce tilted his head slightly. "You're not the leader, but you and Bucky have been trying awfully hard to make this particular issue a mission."
"It is one," the Soldier replied. "It never stopped being one. But Kitty is a new element, one I am not in full control of. I would vote to not wait, to send Sharon today, but I will not call this shot like I'm the only one in charge."
"Trying not to step on toes?"
"The situation with Steve has escalated enough. He will accept someone else's vote more than mine."
That seemed to irritate Bruce a bit, though the Soldier suspected that irritation was more directed at the situation and not at the participants. "All right, as the other scientist involved in trying to contact Kitty, I'll make the call. I'll send Sharon into town today. We'll have the part soon, and after dinner, we'll start investigating the cats to confirm if they're ghosts or not, and then try to track down Kitty so we know where to put the recorder. Fair?"
"Thank you," the Soldier said, hopping down off the counter. He stared at the semi-broken detector; the breadboard itself had taken the worst of the impact, cracks streaked across it, but it hadn't disrupted the circuit too much, nothing a bit of soldering and maybe some wood glue wouldn't fix. He was certain there was some in the basement in one of the supply rooms, certain enough to not mention to Bruce to have Sharon pick it up.
It was a horrible set back, one he laid blame for directly on Steve's shoulders. He gripped the edges of the counter tightly, willing every muscle in his body to hold stone still lest he shake in rage. As far as the Soldier could see or care to see, Steve had strapped a ticking time bomb around their necks, left the Soldier to remain in a past he didn't want, keeping Bucky held prisoner there. Held them there until that bomb went off and there was no getting out.
Hearing his name, he snapped to attention, straightening. His name had been said fearfully, but that had happened before. Hydra feared their own weapon. Some of them were better at hiding it than others.
"Why don't you go to the training building?" Bruce suggested, tone gentle, like handling a feral animal. "You're pretty much radiating enough rage to make me worry that the other guy might have competition. That's not gonna do anyone any good. Work it off before Sharon gets home and we have to work as a group again. A group that includes Steve."
While Bruce was not ultimately in charge, merely willing to make a call the Soldier was unwilling to make, he made a good suggestion. The idea of stabbing training dummies until he'd worn himself out- or at least his anger- sounded wonderful.
"Advice taken," he said, whirling on one foot and heading around the corner to the room that held the team's uniforms. The idea, of course, was that they'd take their uniforms to their rooms to change, but the Soldier most certainly did not want to run into anyone before he could get to the training room, planned on using one of the side exits to get back there rather than the direct back door. So he simply slid the door shut and started changing.
His pants, knee pads, and boots came first, then his custom leg holsters. He debated a long few seconds about the guns; he stood to chance that they'd be heard in the training building, but going into Palestine without them had felt unnatural and left him in trouble. He decided to carry them, even though he wouldn't be using them. Their weight felt good.
He pulled on his turtleneck, adjusting the neck to cover as much skin as possible, making his throat a harder target to hit. He paused briefly, looking between the coat and his tactical vest. The vest would be more comfortable, had a place for his Skorpion, but that was probably excessive, and the coat had more holsters for his knives. If he would be using only his knives, the coat would be a wiser choice.
Dressed, he grabbed his goggles and mask, and headed down the stairs. If Bruce saw him go by, he said nothing, and nobody intercepted him on his way to the door leading to the groundskeeping building. He pulled on his mask and goggles, switching his HUD on, then headed out. He swung wide into the trees and circled around the grounds until he reached the backside of the training building. He pressed his back against it, turning his head slightly to let his HUD take stock of body heat registers in the distant dining room. Getting past anyone in there to the front door might be troublesome.
Steve wasn't there. Bruce was, talking to someone seated that he assumed was Sharon, getting told to go back into town for that replacement part. There was heat wafting into the room from the kitchen. The Soldier didn't know if it was Steve or Maria in there, but he had to move fast, regardless of which it was, if he wanted to get in the building before they came out of the kitchen.
He'd have to chance Sharon. Hopefully Bruce talking to her would keep her occupied enough to get into the building. He counted to three, then turned the corner and ran, hugging the wall tightly. He took one more glance towards the dining room- still not spotted, good -then pressed his metal hand to the hand reader. It took a couple tries to get it to stop looking for a handprint and recognize the biomechtium- twitchy thing- before the door opened. He stepped in and closed the door, leaning back against it.
No trouble, not called for. He'd gotten in without being spotted. Good.
He pulled his glove for his metal hand on. There, ready.
The training building was quite large, intended for all the Avengers (sans Bruce) to stretch their proverbial wings, and that included flying man Tony. Who had, thankfully, explained how to use the place. There were a combination of holograms and real training dummies- very realistic dummies, at that -in there for use. The holograms would disappear upon a kill shot from an arrow, or a knife. Or a good bullet, but guns risked the chance of being heard.
The Soldier was still glad he had his guns on him.
He set the computer to run a program to stretch across the whole building, since he had it to himself; five holograms that would attack from varying heights, with ten physical opponents, set to move at a speed intended for a super soldier to keep up with, in dim conditions. The computer beeped its compliance, and set its countdown until it started the training program. Ten seconds.
The Soldier stepped into the middle of the room, taking note of obstacles of stationary dummies and punching bags and other exercise equipment. Holographic enemies could attack from behind. His physical opponents could hide. Good. He didn't want an easy session.
He pulled out his Yari IIs from behind his back and adjusted his HUD, set to low light conditions, and waited.
The lights went down. A figure skittered behind a bench press. He flung one knife at it, the knife sliding through the holograph and into the wall. A physical opponent slid up to move around the bench press. The Soldier dashed over, leaped over the bench press bar, grabbing it on his way down and spinning it around to knock the head off the physical opponent. He dropped the bar and grabbed his knife from the wall just in time to stab another physical dummy attacking from his right.
A third opponent ran in from behind, and the Soldier didn't even bother to see if it was physical or holographic, he planted his feet up against the wall and flipped back over the oncoming attacker, slamming both knives up to the hilts in the neck of the dummy. One hologram down, three physical dummies down. Four holograms lurking somewhere in the computers, seven more physical dummies scattered about. Even those he couldn't find all of, some still hiding in holding recesses.
Two more holograms fell to his Yari IIs, one attacking from above, the other trying to stop Bucky from getting the knife that had embedded itself in the ceiling from below. He got his knife and fell directly down on the hologram with both knives aimed for a head strike. Three dummies awaited him, and the Soldier landed down on one knee, then pushed himself around, his leg sweeping one dummy off its feet. The other two jumped and avoided. The Soldier chanced a gun shot or two and grabbed his SIG-Sauer off his thigh holster and fired two shots, one each into the heads of the dummies. They went down, leaving him to holster that as he again grabbed a knife and stabbed it into the fallen dummy that was not yet dead.
He stabbed again and again, until another dummy zipped closer and his attention was diverted. He felt the spiral of rage dragging him down with each 'kill'. Nobody had given him any mission, his only mission was to kill with nobody to direct who or where. Mindless dummies following a programming. A sophisticated programming, but not true training. No mission behind it. No reason but to try to work off an anger that didn't want to go away.
No more partner.
No more controller.
No one giving orders that would be followed.
Without that direction, the Soldier could already feel himself spiraling down as he found another opponent against a far wall and pinned it against the wall through the throat, hitting its face with his left fist again and again.
Bucky was going to have a hell of a time exorcising or even just keeping the old programming of 'protect' on the Soldier. Protect what? Who? Who made this order? Someone who didn't want them to leave Hydra.
And good luck with that exorcising, it'd never worked before.
With orders to remain behind, to remain in Hydra, the Soldier would eventually go out of control to get away, he and Bucky both knew it. They'd gotten out once, the Soldier would burn before he let Hydra keep them.
The Soldier's fist beat through the face of the dummy and into the wall.
The program halted suddenly, the light growing unnaturally bright and hurting his eyes through his HUD. He quickly turned the setting off and spun to look at the door. Steve had interrupted, the door open and the program stopped in response. Good thing, too, as a physical opponent sputtered to a stop just behind him. He'd gotten distracted, let his emotions make him miss an opponent and he would've been dead.
Brilliant, Soldier. You should be ashamed of yourself.
He took a half step to face Steve more fully, only moving beyond that to move the dummy that'd been behind him to the side. But he didn't offer an answer.
To the end of the line. But where'd you draw that line, Steve?
Maria showed up behind Steve, forcing him to step inside properly. Even from across the building, the Soldier could see Steve clenching his fists, a darkness that the Soldier had never seen covering his face. "Not Bucky."
"Not the way you think of him," the Soldier answered, jaw clenched under his mask. Every expression he could make would be hidden by his mask and goggles, so he felt free to let his face contort, teeth bared. Steve had no right being angry. None. Not after writing Bucky out of his memories. Not after rejecting the Soldier to the point of rejecting the Soldier's better side. Not after walking away. Not after not giving an answer, not after confirming that Bucky couldn't trust him.
Fuck you, Rogers.
"Why are you here?" Steve's tone was almost a growl, and Maria put her hand on his arm to calm him down. He pushed her hand away.
"Training." What, it wasn't fucking obvious?
None of your fucking business. "Potential threats to the team. That's my mission." It was the only one left that made sense when it came to Steve, and he wasn't sure how long he could hold onto that.
Steve released a deep breath, looking away briefly, then back to the Soldier. "And where'd you get this mission?"
"From you," the Soldier spat. Steve wasn't his controller anymore, he owed him no respect or caution. In fact, he really wasn't anything more than a pain in the ass mission that Bucky was forcing him to stick with "When you decided it was my job to get us in and out of Palestine safely. I've never been released from that mission, and nobody can tell me to stop anymore."
"What do you mean, anymore?" Steve demanded. Maria put her hand on his arm again, and again he pushed it away, but it held him there, kept him from storming in to pick a fight like he looked ready to. "That mission's over."
"Protecting the team remains a priority," the Soldier said through clenched teeth. "And I don't have a controller anymore to direct me. You decided for us that you can't be trusted," he continued, his voice dangerously close to becoming a yell. "You get no say in what Bucky- we -do anymore. There's no more partnership, you don't call the shots anymore. I will continue my protection mission until it's no longer needed."
"Controller?" Steve's eyebrows shot up into a look of disbelief, angry disbelief as he pointed at himself. "Me? I was never a controller, I was a partner. I didn't order anyone around." The Soldier almost took a step back. He had never seen that sort of anger on Steve's face, and he looked about to beat the Soldier out of Bucky.
Worrisome. Threat level high. It'd guarantee destruction of any remaining hope for the friendship that Bucky would ultimately order the Soldier to protect.
"Bucky wondered why I hated you so much, this is why," Steve went on, even while the Soldier was evaluating escapes if it came to blows. "You call me a controller of my best friend. You were supposed to be gone." Each emphasis was accompanied by a rise in volume. "Give. My best friend. Back."
The Soldier's fists clenched the hilts of his knives until they shook and began to warp in his hands. Give him back? As if the Soldier was holding Bucky hostage. It was Steve that held them hostage, and he still refused to see, and gave all the more reason for distrust.
Give him back? Give who back? There was nobody else in that brain but Bucky and his increasingly hard to control coping technique.
Escape. The situation was escalating too fast, and nothing was stopping the Soldier's mind from trying to feed off of Steve's anger. He darted his eyes around for another exit, but found none. He'd have to fight past Steve to get out.
It was Maria that calmed the situation, moving to stand in front of Steve, slightly to his side, her arm held out in front of him. "Ease off, both of you. Steve, Bucky- or Soldier, however you care to be called -this fight doesn't need to happen when people are armed and dangerous. Steve, leave. Go on a run. Do something to calm down. Don't push this. I can handle him, I've done it before." She turned her head to look at the Soldier. "Put the knives away."
She was not his controller, but he obeyed the order. He still liked her, and Bucky was fond of her, so he'd listen for the moment. And she made a good- if indirect -point. He was armed, the situation was escalating, the Soldier hadn't found an escape, and was already contemplating the idea of fighting his way out as a good one.
Steve didn't seem to want to listen to Maria's good sense. "You expect me to stand by while he-"
"He what?" the Soldier interrupted, pulling off his goggles and face mask. "Holds your friend captive? The only one keeping us in Hydra is you. We want out."
Either removing the part of his uniform that made it easy to separate him from Bucky had stunned Steve, or the Soldier's statement had, because all Steve could do at that moment was stare, conflicting emotions on his face. The Soldier counted them. Shock. Worry. Anger. He was certain he saw the coin of love and hatred spinning in confusion.
Please let us get out of here, Steve.
"You're not staying," Steve finally said, voice hoarse and the Soldier would be entirely unsurprised if Steve ran off somewhere to throw a fit in private, destroy something as Bucky had the EMF detector, or maybe he'd just go take one of Bucky's Ativan and try to push away the accusation that he had to know by now was true.
Or maybe he'd do something else. Steve's behavior with Hydra in his head was erratic, no longer predictable.
Steve gaze stayed focused on the Soldier a moment longer, then at Maria, then left.
Maria turned to the Soldier, crossing her arms over her chest. Now that Steve and the Soldier weren't mixing like a bad chemical reaction, she didn't look terribly happy with the Soldier, either.
Oh for fuck's sake, all he was doing was blowing off some steam, who gave them the right to come interrupt and make things worse? He just wanted to be alone for awhile.
"You know, for someone who wants to prove himself to Steve as a trustworthy person, you sure didn't do a good job."
"I didn't make the first shot," he snapped, taking out one knife to examine the hilt. The finger ridges were a it deeper, though only by a centimeter or two. There should be no fault in its integrity, at least. He put it away.
"What happened?" Her voice was stern, giving orders, something that at once soothed his mind and pissed him off further. She wasn't his controller either, none of them were. Not until Bucky was finally willing to let go.
"I asked him about the sketchbook. He gave me a line of bullshit about it, and walked away when called on it. I said I trusted him and he walked away. The line has been reached, obviously."
She frowned. "Y- who am I talking to?"
"Me," he said. "I keep trying to tell Steve this. Please don't make me convince you, too."
That didn't seem to please Maria, but she let it pass. "Fine. I'm assuming I'm talking to your more deadly half. What's this about a controller?"
No, the Soldier wasn't going to be the one to handle Maria. He was worked up, Bucky wasn't going to let his own bad temper given horrible manifestation potentially ruin things with his girl.
He stared down at his mask and goggles in his hand. "Steve was only my partner until we were in the field," Bucky said. "I dunno if he ever understood that, but the Soldier can't work without someone in charge of him. Palestine was a failure and trying to fix that has been hard enough, I'm losing my goddam mind."
She dropped her arms, picking past a dead dummy or two to get to him. "I didn't realize this situation was doing that to you," she said. Her voice had dropped into a more normal tone, although there was a hint of placating in it, like trying to make sure that the Soldier was firmly on his leash.
Bucky sighed, running his flesh hand through his hair. His scalp was sweaty, and he wanted a long, hot shower to try to ease away emotions that water wouldn't actually work on. "The Soldier has always had someone in charge of him. I don't know how to function on a mission without the Soldier and he doesn't know how to function without someone in charge."
"But Steve doesn't have that right anymore," Maria more said than asked, confirmation rather than questioning. She stepped over to him and put her hand on his flesh arm.
"That's not the problem," Bucky said. "The problem is is that he's still stuck in that lab and we can't get out of there without him. That was the mission, those were the orders. Until Steve is willing to get up and leave with us, that mission is a failure and failure isn't acceptable."
He took in a deep breath, trying to fight back his emotions, to try to keep a rational head, or at least partly so, to try to put his feelings and issues aside to be focused on later, because there was still one more part of the mission he could do. "So now the only thing I can do is try to keep everyone else safe while I wait on him. Quite frankly, I'm so angry at him for it that I don't want anything to do with him. I sure as hell don't want to room with him anymore. If we ever get back to the Tower, I think I want my own place."
With a sigh, she wrapped her arms around his waist. "I can't say that I blame you. But I think you should avoid premature decisions. I heard him. You heard him. He wants Bucky back."
Bucky bit back a snarl. "And I keep telling him we're a package deal. I was hoping that telling him that protecting the team was our mission would put that through his brain, but-" He cut himself off, not sure how to finish that beyond a desire to bare his teeth like a feral animal trapped in a corner.
"But all he heard was what he believed without listening, I know," Maria said. "This'll take time, but we'll fix it. Steve's stubborn, but it's obvious he doesn't want to lose you. There's still hope. I'll talk to Sharon, and in the meantime, I'll take care of you and we'll all work to keep these fights away from Bruce."
That he could agree with. "Bruce doesn't like getting caught in the middle anyway."
"No, he doesn't." She looked up at him. "In the meantime, you said the Soldier needs a controller? Someone in charge of him?"
He looked at the mask and goggles in his hand, tempted to throw them, as if that'd get rid of the problem entirely, as if that'd be enough to symbolically bury the Soldier. But he knew that wouldn't work, so he kept a tight grip on them. "He doesn't know what to do without someone else making the final call. That's why I agreed to let Steve go in there anyway. I had my part of the mission, he'd made the call to proceed."
"Then I'll take charge," she said. Before his brain could do more than short circuit, she went on. "We're not partners the way you and Steve were, but we're still partners. I know how to be in charge, I'll call the shots for him."
He sighed, then wrapped both arms around her, burying his face in her hair. "You don't have to do that," he said. "With everything going on with Steve, he's not going to be easy to control, even for me."
She pressed her cheek against his. "Having a controller would help him, right? We'll worry about Steve another time. I'll sic Sharon on him, I got you two. Trust me. Both of you."
Bucky wasn't sure he could. Not that he couldn't trust Maria, that was never in question. It was a matter of if the Soldier would accept someone where Steve stood after being rejected. Bucky had heard Steve loud and clear, he wanted Bucky back. There might still be a chance- everything aside, he wanted there to be a chance.
But the sting of those lies was still sharp and the Soldier had burned, had the freedom to do something other than ice over and behave, and now putting out that fire was gonna be difficult. Maria would be up to the task, but Bucky worried she might get hurt in the process.
But he trusted her, and the Soldier trusted him, and they both agreed that it'd be a good temporary solution.
"All right," he said with a sigh, straightening. "We'll try it. If you don't think you can keep doing it, tell me. I won't be hurt. I know Hydra made me into a mess, I'm a handful. Steve would tell you stories, if he weren't in the mood he's in."
Bucky really hoped there was anything left to salvage, to fix.
But for right now, he had a new partner to pay attention to. Steve would have to wait.