|The Pen is Mightier! (penismightier) wrote in chaotic_library,|
@ 2016-08-25 20:20:00
|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 22
Character/Series: Bucky Barnes; Marvel Cinematic Universe
Notes: Interesting fact about this chapter: I had completely not given enough thought into the Hulk's transformation and what they'd have to do to take care of it, so half of this was shot from the hip.
Title: Uncivil War- Chapter 22: Turn The Beauty Into The Beast
Word Count: 4923
Summary: The basement was a nightmare of flickering light and shocks of energy from the wires over head.
so everyone start to move now
i wanna see you all give way
i wanna tear this place apart tonight
and have you thank me for my rage
tell me what you came for
can i give you just a taste
i wanna see you lose your fucking minds
and rip apart this place
-In This Moment
The basement was a nightmare of flickering light and shocks of energy from the wires over head. Down the side to the Soldier's right, the cheery yellow paint was blacking and peeling. Down the other side, the wires twisting and turning across the ceiling glowed and sparked.
He ran, hoping like hell that the sledgehammer really was still down in the circuit breaker room like he thought.
Overhead, the insulation on the wires burned away, dropping in hot chunks around him. The heat was stifling, but he ran anyway.
That sledgehammer better damn well be there.
He braced one foot up against the inside of the door frame as he reached the end of the hall, stopping his forward momentum and transferring it to the side, into the room.
The exposed wires in the hole he'd made when they first arrived at the school glowed so white that the Soldier's HUD in his goggles had to adjust, did in seconds, filtering and dimming the light. But not fast enough. He was still light blinded, blinking rapid fire under the protective bullet proof glass.
He groped for where the sledgehammer had been last he knew, left resting against a wall; his hand closed around the wooden handle as his vision cleared. The Soldier stepped forward into a wide stance, then swung the hammer as hard as he could. He hoped his aim wasn't off- if it was, he gave the ghost precious seconds to resist the attack -when he swung the hammer into the bright mess of wires.
When he felt the hammer hook something, he yanked back, side-stepping to get out of the way as wires were strained to the breaking point, resisted the force behind his swing, then snapped like thread pulled too tight, spraying sparks everywhere. Inside the wires, a little girl's voice shrieked.
The Soldier crouched, raising his left arm instinctively to protect the rest of him from the onslaught. He felt his arm pulse with an excess of energy, burning up into his stump. The pain was horrific, but not enough to stop him. Not enough to make him pause more than to back out of the way of further damage. His arm tingled from the raw exposure, then the computers inside readjusted. He rotated his arm once to make sure it worked.
It did. Good.
The glow from the wires at the base of the hole fell limp, the lines going dead, but the wires on top spat and sputtered, then sprang to life. The light shifted, moved upwards, moved out of the room.
Upstairs. The Soldier had to guess at her strategy. Surely she felt the damage from the arc reactor being decimated. Most of her attention had to be there. But she seemed insistent on playing games with the Soldier while she was at it. Perhaps distracting him from what she was doing out there.
Clever, but nothing you could do could harm the Hulk, little girl. You wanna play? We'll play.
The Soldier ran out of the room, the sledgehammer tightly in his grip, just under the head where the balance was best, followed the spark down the hall and back up the stairs.
At the top of the stairs, the door had been shut. He didn't bother to see if Kitty had melted the lock, it wouldn't stop him either way. He didn't even pause as he pushed open the door, sending it flying across the hall.
To his left, the spark hesitated. One second too long. Whatever the ghost was deciding, she was taking too long to make that decision, because the Soldier wasn't going to let her take her fire and damage up to the living space. There were things of personal value to his team.
Swinging the hammer like a bat, the Soldier sunk the hammer's head into the wall, above the spark, and pulled down and back towards himself. The wires snapped, cutting Kitty off from the west wing dormitories. The scream she let loose made the nerves in his teeth jangle, a child literally getting murdered.
Too bad, kid, you were given a chance to prove yourself a good kid. You decided to issue death threats and try to follow up on them. Bad move.
The brightest spark jumped, landed next to him, catching the rug on fire. There were fire extinguishers in the building, the fire could be put out later, but it wasn't as important as keeping Kitty from focusing all her attention on the arc reactor.
The lights inside were flashing like lightning in a dark room. Down towards the front of the school, the ceiling was lit up from the sun outside, and down the other way, the light came in the cafeteria walls. But there in the middle, it was dim, just enough for the flickering to be a bother to his HUD.
But not enough to hide Kitty.
The bright spark he assumed was her at this point flew past him in the floor, the carpet going up in flames in her wake. The wallpaper in the hall was melting, leaving behind plaster that blackened and warped from the heat.
She was trying too hard, too hard to make herself look a threat. Her spark was dimmer than it had been downstairs. The arc reactor must be finally shutting down. Kitty's waning power was getting thrown into fancy pyrotechnics and nothing truly threatening.
The Soldier wasn't the sort to fall for her show and let her go. He was going to keep her right there, unable to divert her full attention to the Hulk. That reactor had to be almost toast by now, unless the Hulk was getting too distracted by something else to give it his full attention.
Since this transformation was provoked and not done on purpose, that was possible, and worrying. Neither Steve nor Sharon would survive getting close enough to that thing to shut it down if Kitty had enough of her attention focused on protecting her power source. It had to be the Hulk to take it down.
Which just meant that the Soldier had to keep Kitty very busy, perhaps force her to pull back to deal with him, giving whoever was left out there a chance to cut the power. If things went pear shaped out there, it'd be up to him inside to give the others a chance to regroup.
The Soldier caught up with the ball of electricity setting things aflame, got ahead of it, and slammed down the hammer, through the floor, grabbing the wires again. He'd break off all her accesses to the school if he had to.
Kitty made that horrible noise again, but the wires didn't snap under the force of his upswing, instead ripped up from under the floorboards, up the distant wall by the front door. The wires pulled free, wrapping around themselves and flying back to the Soldier.
That's better. This way, you little bitch.
He swung the hammer like a baseball bat, catching the wires in their loop. The wires moved with the hammer, crackling and tearing apart to tangle around his left arm.
Electricity traveled lightning fast up his arm, into his stump, up his shoulder, down his side, up into his face and brain. He screamed, swinging the hammer wide again to try to pull out from the wires' grip, to stop the pain, to get free before something was more permanently damaged and pulled him from the fight.
He dug the head of the hammer under the wires attached to his arm, pulling them away even as the pain jackhammered up every nerve and wire connection in his arm. The wires broke free, leaving his arm dead, heavy and limp at his side. His muscles recovered quickly, his brain quicker.
He let go of the hammer just enough to get a one handed grip on it, ready to greet the wires that shook and convulsed, then lifted again with all the force he could muster from his right arm.
Something grabbed his arm behind him and he jerked the handle of the hammer backwards. The butt of the handle was met with resistance, hitting something solidly, something that yelled a coherent 'hey!' The grip on his arm tightened at the contact, a squeeze that would've shattered a normal man's bones. Fortunately, the Soldier's were not that easy to break.
The Soldier yanked himself to the side, wrenching his arm free, ready to face whatever threat- a human threat, unless Kitty had learned to yell 'hey' in Steve's voice.
"Where's Sharon?" the Soldier demanded.
"Gimme the hammer," Steve said, not answering the question. In front of them, the loose wires waved around as if the ghost inside was having a seizure, but tried to find a target, groping around blindly and spraying sparks. Steve's hand was held out for the hammer and he was ignoring the blood dripping from his nose.
Damnit, the metal arm was out of commission, that meant Steve had a better chance at getting a potentially finishing blow on the ghost. The Soldier obeyed the order, tossed the hammer to Steve and backed out of the way of any wide swings or spewing electricity. His flesh hand moved to pull his metal arm up, to relieve some of the pull on his muscles from the weight of the fried computers and thick biomechtium.
Instead of using the Soldier's technique of ripping apart wires, Steve chose to twist the wires around the hammer's wooden handle, snaking the hammer around, under, and over Kitty's attempts at getting to flesh. Once the wires were pulled tight, Steve turned and threw the hammer back, through the large hole that the Hulk made in the front door.
The wires that had pulled out from the wall to attack the Soldier were yanked tight, pulled more out of the ceiling then finally broke and flew out the door, the dangling pieces left behind hanging. They weren't spitting any sparks anymore.
With the loud crackling gone, the charge of electricity in the air fading, and the immediate appearance of danger gone, the Soldier was able to just make out the noise outside of the Hulk, farther from the building than where the arc reactor was. He heard the quinjet's engines almost right overhead. A look above him confirmed that the quinjet was right over the front driveway. He wondered if the plans outside had changed to include immediate evacuation.
Over the roar of the jet's engines, he heard the Hulk getting louder, until he appeared from beyond the front drive, leaping high enough to be flying as he landed on the quinjet's nose.
It occurred to the Soldier to turn on his comm; the others hadn't had a chance to hand theirs to him before the attack in the training center; they might have theirs on and activated. Maybe hearing what they were saying would clue him in to just what the fuck was going on.
"Send him as far as you can, Maria," Steve said, close to his side and right in his ear.
"It won't be far," Maria replied.
The quinjet bobbed and spun back and forth as the Hulk ripped up pieces of the front hull, tore the revolver cannons off and tossed them. Maria flew the jet higher despite the oncoming danger of the Hulk's destruction. A lump formed in the Soldier's gut.
"All right, Bruce," he heard Maria mutter in his ear. "Time to go somewhere else for awhile."
All four of the quinjet's AIM-54Bs fired, digging into the Hulk's ribs and pulling him off the quinjet. The Hulk didn't like that, grabbing the top two missiles and yanking them in half, leaving only the two lower ones to accelerate him away.
He was lost to the trees somewhere before the sounds of the other two missiles exploding reached them.
The Soldier's adrenaline levels dropped like a carnival ride, slamming downward, then elevated again, but only a little. He looked around again, looking for signs of Kitty in what wires remained in the walls while Maria landed the damaged quinjet in the front drive.
Enemy neutralized. All that remained was the localized small fires that they could tend to.
Fires that could wait until after Bucky had a chance to take back over and demand what the hell just happened, and more importantly, make sure Maria was all right.
He didn't run, but his steps were brisk as he headed out the remodeled front door to the quinjet. The hatch opened, metal straining and groaning in protest, and Maria stepped out, heading back for the house.
Bucky met her more than halfway there, grabbed her up in a one armed hug, holding her tightly enough against him that she squeaked like a dog toy from the pressure. He put a hand on her shoulder and pushed her back a step, on the verge of shaking her. "What the hell were you doing?" he demanded. "He could've killed you!"
Maria wrenched her shoulder free from his hand. "I know," she said. "It wasn't my first choice."
She didn't seem hurt. Upset that he questioned her, with some unsteadiness to her voice, like the fear was finally given a chance to show, no longer shoved aside for the mission.
Okay, Maria was okay. He knew where Steve was. Bruce was off somewhere in the woods.
"I'm right here," Sharon replied, walking out of the quinjet behind Maria. There was an angry red line across her throat, blistered and almost glowing in the sunlight. A second degree burn, if he had to guess.
"Are you all right?"
Her response was a careful nod, walking up to join Bucky and Maria. Steve had walked over to Bucky's side at some point while he was focused on his girlfriend's safety. "I'm fine," she said, walking over to stand by the others. "I'm more resilient than you might think."
Bucky turned his head to look at Steve. "All right, who gets to tell me what the hell just happened?"
"Bruce didn't purposely call a Code Green," Steve said, something Bucky already knew and had guessed at the consequences thereof. "He's almost impossible to direct when he's triggered against his wil- what happened to your arm?"
Bucky glanced down at his arm that he was cradling against his chest. "Deadweight," he said. "She overstressed the computers."
Steve frowned, then put a hand on Bucky's shoulder. "Tony can fix it," he said as a matter of fact, as if unwilling to believe otherwise. Stupid idiot.
"Is the arc reactor dead?" Bucky asked, setting that issue aside as he tilted slightly to drop Steve's hand off his dead shoulder. Steve kept his grip firm. Damnit.
"It is," Sharon said. "We had to get out of the way. That thing was too dangerous for us to get near. We went back to the quinjet, and Steve came back here to help you."
Bucky looked up at Steve. His nose had stopped bleeding. "You're lucky that nosebleed is all you got," he snapped. "I could've busted your nose with that thing. Why'd you come back instead of staying with the girls? If the arc reactor was dying, I could handle things fine here."
Steve raised an eyebrow. "Says the guy who lost use of an entire limb," he said. He took in an angry breath. "I couldn't leave my partner here alone. We had a plan set up to get the Hulk away safely, I wasn't needed there. I was here."
His partner. The adrenaline crashed part of Bucky's brain wanted to cry tears of relief at those words. But it had to be put off until later. There was still work to do.
Considering parts of the building were on fire and all.
"Fire extinguishers," Bucky said, putting everything else aside and pointing to areas that had caught fire, mostly along the hallway floor where the wires had been torn up. The heat from the flames and the overworked wires made the threat of the walls catching fire very real, and he was sure there was fire down in the basement.
The fires weren't widespread, sharp flames here and there, but the heat leftover in the walls and floor made the possibility of more igniting. The broken open windows and the breezy new doors in both the front and the back should let the heat disperse to the outside, preferably before anything caught or decided to make an encore appearance. It'd take awhile to fully cool down in there, with the hot summer air and now no working anything, much less an air conditioner, to hurry that process along.
Bucky was forced to step back and allow the others to gather up the fire extinguishers from their various hiding places. He couldn't work one, not with a dead arm. He stepped back outside, away from the fires, moving to examine the damaged quinjet while the other three put out the flames.
The nose was a mess of squished metal; it was a wonder Maria survived sitting in the cockpit, just feet away from that. Bucky grit his teeth, stamping down the urge to go yell at all three of them for a stupid plan that needlessly exposed them to danger.
But he'd be a hypocrite, and what was done was something that had to be done, and Maria had been the best to do it.
Oh shut up.
He evaluated the condition of the rest of the quinjet. The metal in the entire hull looked compromised from the force of the Hulk landing on it and pulling at pieces. It might very well not fly again, not without some big repairs. Repairs they had no way of doing there.
Bucky turned at Steve's voice, the light settings on his HUD adjusting to allow him to see Steve in the ruined atrium better. "What?"
"Fires are mostly out," Steve said. "Come on in, we'll go into the medical center and see if Bruce had any slings we can put your arm in so it's not just hanging."
He wasn't reacting to Bucky's uniform- full mask and goggles and everything -the way he had before. His concern was real, his expression holding nothing resembling animosity or even hesitancy. The Soldier dressed in his full uniform was now just Bucky.
It took all of us nearly getting killed to put that through your head, Steve? Boy, you're thick.
But fine, Bucky would go with it for now. There was still more to talk about- the Soldier had to hear Steve explicitly accept him as part of this package deal, or else that mistrust that haunted below the surface would stay there.
But for now, things were normal, so Bucky pushed the Soldier back into the scar in his mind where he belonged and followed Steve back in. "Did Junior get ahold of JARVIS before we wrecked the jet?" he asked, stealing a glance back at the jet before heading down that dimmer hall to the dark doctor's office. It seemed Kitty hadn't done anything to the medical center.
Bucky stepped into the room after Steve and then slid over away from the door to allow in as much light as possible for Steve to search by.
"Sharon said she did," Steve said. "I hadn't activated my comm yet. Kinda afraid of it getting fried under my skin." He was searching drawers and cabinets, moving things aside, while he spoke. "And Maria kept on Junior to keep trying to reach the Tower. She was having trouble with the mess going on with the electricity." He stopped searching, looking around. "I can't find anything. It's too dark."
Bucky pulled off his goggles and held them out. "There's a night vision setting on the HUD," he said. "Might help."
Steve looked at the offered goggles. "Those are yours," he said.
Bucky raised an eyebrow. "Whose?"
The angry frustration from earlier was gone when Steve let a soft sigh out. "I know we have more talking to do. But that uniform belongs to my partner. That includes those, and you probably know better how to use them than I do."
Good answer, Steve. We'll work the details over once we're safe, somewhere that has electricity that isn't going to eat them.
"Yeah, and I only have one arm to search with. Just take them, Steve. It's only for a few minutes."
Steve looked ready to protest again, but whatever that protest was died before it formed words, and Steve simply took the goggles. "How do these work?" he asked, taking off his helmet to pull them on.
"Intuitively," Bucky said, refusing to say how silly Steve looked in them. "Not as sophisticated as our comms, but there's really not any buttons to push."
Steve handed his helmet over to Bucky to free up his other hand for searching. Out in the hallways, he could still hear the sounds of fire extinguishers, one fading away, the other passing directly by. He looked out to see Maria layering more cold spray on the rug that, while no longer on fire, posed risk of catching again as long as the heat remained.
He looked back at Steve. "So the house is trashed and we have no power."
Steve only took a second to look over his shoulder at Bucky, then went back to searching. "We're gonna have to leave, yeah. Ah, here we go." He pulled out a sling from a cabinet in the corner, and walked over to Bucky. "Go ahead and set my helmet on the counter. I need your help getting this on you."
The Soldier had heard just enough to be willing to let Bucky comply without an argument, and he did as he was told, grabbing his metal arm's wrist and pulling it up to settle in the sling once it was over his head and positioned correctly.
"What do you think?"
Bucky looked at the sling, mentally assessing how much weight that took off his flesh shoulder and the muscles where metal met flesh. "It'll work until we can get someone to fix it."
"We'll find someone," Steve said said, taking off the goggles. He traded Bucky's goggles for his own helmet. "Tony will probably fly back personally." He leaned around Bucky's shoulder, looking into the hallway. "Got any ideas on where to go from here? It might be awhile before help arrives, we can't stay in a partially demolished building with no electricity."
Bucky almost argued, almost pointed out again that Steve had to make the final call, but he mentally put duct tape over the mouth of the part of his brain that wanted to make that argument. He hadn't been told to make the decision, he was just asked for ideas. That's acceptable.
"Hotel, I guess," Bucky said. "We still have the BMW, we can pack up enough clothes for a couple days, grab the stuff we can't replace, like your sketchbooks, and head to a town to stay the night. We'll use the account that Junior controls to leave a footprint for Tony to follow. We'll wanna get farther away from here than the town Sharon's been going to. Head down to Ithaca, maybe. That's out there a bit."
Steve was silent a moment, then nodded. "We'll do that then. You have stuff at Maria's place, right? She can help you pack if you need it. I can get my sketchbooks. Want me to grab your notebooks from the lounge?"
The notebooks. There were a couple in that pile of well-worn notebooks that held more than just his work. More that Steve needed to see, maybe help rebuild the bridge between them. "Yeah, please? Got some stuff I can't redo in them." That was all he would say on that.
"You got it. Anything in the work room?"
Bucky shook his head. "No, Tony can get that stuff if it's still up there. Just those notebooks."
"All right," Steve said, then tapped his comm behind his ear- completely unnecessary, but it seemed they both had that habit still. "Girls, how're the fires coming?"
"The basement's not burning anymore," Sharon said. "But it's really hot down here. I think we should pack up and get out of here as quickly as possible."
"I agree," Maria said. "But I'm not sure that quinjet's gonna get us anywhere we can land."
"Way ahead of you," Steve said. "Bucky suggested taking the BMW to Ithaca, pick a hotel. Tony can track where we've gone if we use that dummy account he gave us to pay for that. I think it's a good idea."
"Definitely not a bad one, but I may have to go hide the quinjet again," Maria said. "There was a lot of noise and explosions going on around here, if anyone was nosy, the first thing they'd see would be it and that might compromise us."
"While you're out there, download Junior's UI to your phone if you can," Bucky said. "Remove her entirely. If anyone finds the quinjet, they're gonna find a ruined piece of metal that they can't do anything with. Junior won't be there to run her."
There was a brief pause, including an odd look from Steve, as if he was surprised how good of an idea that might actually be. Oh shut up, Steve.
"I will," Maria said. "Bucky, can you pack for me while I do that? I think it's safe enough now for us to pack and get out before anything might catch again."
"Will do, pretty lady," Bucky said. He looked at Steve. "Find me a spare bag for my uniform and weapons, please? I got enough pieces that we'll be overstuffing the one we have. It'd just be easier to have one for each of us. Speaking of, we should get out of these. It's going to be obvious who we are if we all showed up at a hotel in uniform. We're supposed to be laying low."
Steve nodded once, looking contemplative, which turned into a frown. "It's going to be dark in the rooms. I don't think Tony left anything we can use in a power outage. The arc reactor wasn't supposed to fail."
Maria had an answer to that. "I have a stun gun and a weather radio that both have flashlights on them. We'll take turns changing and packing. Bucky and I will take one, Steve can take the other, then whoever gets done first can pass theirs to Sharon."
"I'll keep an eye on the hot spots," Sharon said. "Should we pack a bag for Bruce, in case he catches up?"
Bucky shook his head, purely out of habit- nobody could see it except Steve, so it wasn't a helpful answer. "He'll probably find his way back here, he'll need clothes here. If not, Tony can take something with him for when he finally tracks him down. Just leave Bruce's things." He looked at Steve. "Leave my bag for my uniform in the hall. After Maria and I are done changing, I'll stick my uniform in there."
"I'll probably get done before you," Steve said. "I'll put our money in your bag. If we need it, it'd be easier to get to without potentially exposing a recognizable weapon."
"Where are you two?" Sharon asked, interrupting them.
"Medlab," Steve said. Then realization dawned on his face. "I'll grab something to treat that burn before I go upstairs."
"Thank you," Sharon said. "It's starting to really hurt."
Hm. "Maria, you know some basic field first aid, right?" Bucky asked.
"I do," she said. "I'll take Sharon to the cafeteria where there's light and get it treated and wrapped. Bucky's already packing for me, I can do that, then go take care of the jet."
"Anything that can't be replaced I need to pack for you?" Bucky asked. "Photo albums?"
"No, nothing like that," Maria said. "I asked Tony to pass those to my father in case we didn't have time to fully pack back up when we got called out of here. Sharon?"
"I have a photograph of Aunt Peggy I can't replace, but I'll pack that when I get up there," she said.
"One last question from me," Bucky said. "Maria, where are those flashlights?"
"My nightstand," she said. "Top drawer, my side of the bed."
"Then we're all set," Steve said. "Let's get this done and get out of here."
"No arguments from me," Bucky said, heading back out into the hall and towards the dorms.
Steve stopped him with a hand on his flesh shoulder. Bucky looked back at him. "I know there's more to talk about," he said quietly. "But I want to say now that I'm sorry. For a lot of things."
Bucky moved his arm to clasp Steve's forearm. "Later," he said. "Get my notebooks, please."
Dropping his arm, Steve glanced back towards the door up to the lounge. "What about your Dresden books?"
"No," Bucky said, shaking his head. "That's more to pack than we need to do right now. And if it comes to it, Peter probably would love the chance to replace them. He was running out of books to throw at me."
Steve laughed, shaking his head. "Your brother's something else. All right, just the notebooks. I'll catch up to you upstairs for that flashlight after I'm done down here."
"Meet you there."
They split up to start packing.