Story Summary: Bucky is on a Mission: Find out about his past and try to remember the Man in Blue. His “mission” takes him to Boston where he meets the fun and flirty, Colin Shea. With Colin’s help, he might just find all the answers he’s been searching for…but he also might find love. With outside pressures, Bucky has to decide between remaining in the dark and staying with Colin or going after the man who haunts his nightmares.
Crossover: What’s Your Number? meets Captain America: Winter Soldier/The Avengers/Captain America: Civil War (more the movies and less the books or graphic novels)
Rating: R if this was a movie. MA if it was a TV show. Mature on Archive of Our Own. Not rated on Tumblr. There is some LGBTQ/slash sexual situations, though nothing erotic. It’s a simple Rated-R romcom. No porn. (Think along the lines of Wings meets Love, Darrows, kiTT.) As Cap would say: Language! Because yes, there is some language and double entendres. Not so much violence as of now.
Chapter word count: 1,668
Characters: James “Bucky” Barnes, Colin Shea
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their original creators. There is no copyright infringement intended. This is all done in fun and love for my favorite movies. Thank you for stopping by and reading.
Notes: Chapter two of two for today. There have been questions plaguing my mind about What’s our Number? One of them is related to “Julie from college” who, in the movie, Colin found and said she’s a dude who looks like a cute Ralph Macchio. It’s comments he made (and similars) that has me thinking Mr. Colin Shea wouldn’t be to objective to a fling with a man. Part of the driving force behind my story. I love him no matter what he does. He’s a proud manwhore and I love him for it. Total inspiration for this chapter:
Colin: (sing-song) I got Charlie Chang’s.
Ally: Did you get the Itty-Bitty Spareribs?
“So all you have is a name and some obit information mentioning him dying during World War II?” Colin asks.
I pace on the other side of the short table from him in the small space he’s designated as the living room for 6A. “James Buchanan Barnes. Died in Germany behind enemy lines in battle. That’s all it said in the newspaper archives in DC.” All I had time to find, anyway.
Click-clack-clack-click-click. Colin’s fingers obliterate the letters on his laptop. “Okay, Google is giving us quite a bit. It says he was an Army Sergeant in the 107th infantry during the war. He became a member of The Howling Commandos.” Colin’s finger slides around the rectangular space below the letters. He stops and taps the square. “Whoa.”
“Has anyone ever told you that you bear a striking resemblance to James Barnes? Come here and see, Buck.”
“Well, he was my grandfather.” The well-rehearsed lie quickly stumbles from my mouth as I sit beside Colin on the couch. I lean forward, elbows on my knees, to remove the glare covering half the picture. The black and white image of a dirty James Barnes sits center screen. In all appearances, we could be twins if we weren’t the same man. Memories of the old me feel forever lost in a fog, doomed to never resurface.
My eyes are glued to the man next to him wearing combat fatigues and a helmet. He’s facing away from the camera, staring at me. I can just get a small hint of his nose, his strong jaw, his height. Everything about him feels tense, though the edges of my mouth in the image are soft as though a smile wants to break through. I’m staring at him as though he’s everything in the world to me. Like in another moment, I’d hug him close and never let him go. More memories I’d kill to retrieve.
“Here he is with the Commandos.” He clicks the square again and sits back when the image fills the screen. “I wouldn’t want to be on his bad side. He looks deadly.”
I lean in and study my comrades. I couldn’t name a single one of them if my life depended upon it. “Definitely deadly,” I agree.
Colin leans forward and clicks on the red dot above the picture. It goes away and he types “Howling Commandos” into a box. After a quick click on the square, a long list of information fills the screen. Colin chooses the third one.
“The men who formed The Howling Commandos were prisoners of war, kidnapped by HYDRA and believed to be experimented upon,” Colin reads. “HYDRA’s top scientist, Zola, was believed to have experimented on the men, though the facts are sealed and remain vague.”
“Mr. Barnes, you will be HYDRA’s best soldier. At least that’s our goal. The last lab rat wasn’t a successful test, but we learn from our mistakes, correct?” Zola’s Swiss accent was thin, his glasses thick. “Initiate test two, subject: Barnes,” he yells at the nurse.
Colin’s fingers snap in my face. “Buck? Are you okay? Where did you go?”
I think to a past memory. “Sorry. Just a little tired. What were you saying?”
“There’s an exhibit about the Howling Commandos on loan from the Smithsonian at the World War II museum in Natick. That’s just west of here. We could go.”
“I guess we could.”
“Okay, Buck. We’ll make plans to go out tomorrow.”
“Why can’t we go now?”
Colin stands and stretches his arms over his head. The bright green Celtics t-shirt lifts up with the motion, exposing his abs and quite the happy trail tumbling down to his Calvin Klein band. He watches me stare at his…stretching…and says, “Because tonight, we’re watching Mexican Wrestling on pay-per-view and ordering Charlie Chang’s Itty-Bitty Spare Ribs, extra mustard and duck sauce.”
“What about this Steve Rogers guy?” Colin asks around the lump of spare rib in his cheek.
My heart skids to a stop. “What about him?”
Colin points at the images congesting his computer screen. “It seems that every picture of James Barnes, with the exception of his military enlistment photos and the public Howling Commandos images, includes this man, Steve Rogers.” Colin turns his attention to me. “We’re they secret lovers or something? Is he like your other grandfather? Because, let me tell you, that guy has a nice caboose worth fighting for.”
Could say the same about him. “Does it say anything in the Google about them?”
He snickers and mumbles, “The Google,” then shakes his head. “It only mentioned them being childhood friends. But something tells me there’s much more to their story.”
I want to ask, “Like what?” but I don’t think it would come off as a general curiosity. I’m overly anxious to know how he and I are related. More than curious to know why, if we were so close, I don’t remember a thing about him.
“Egg roll?” Colin asks, holding one my way with his chopsticks.
“Sure. Extra mustard, please.”
I take the egg roll and hold it out as Colin spoons a dollop of mustard on the tip of it. “That’s the best part,” he says. The spoon drops into the mustard filled container. “We could also check to see if any of these guys are still alive. Dum Dum Dugan can’t be that difficult to find. And ‘Frenchie’ Dernier isn’t that common of a name. We could look them up.”
Though I know less of them, I agree. “Anything that can help.” I take a bite of the egg roll. My tongue burns when the mustard lands on it. I grab my beer and guzzle some down.
He stuffs another small spare rib into his mouth and hops up from the couch. The board gets a once over and a huff. Colin picks up the eraser and swipes it clean, then uses the black marker to make more notes near “Julie from college” in the bottom corner, writing “4D, dog” and “2C: Co-something” then outlining it with a box.
“Okay. We have James Buchanan Barnes.” He writes my name in the center of the top of the board with the black marker in all caps. He presses the lid on with a click. The blue marker is chosen next. “Read me the names of the Howling Commandos. I know Dum Dum and Frenchie, but the rest.”
As he writes the two names on the board, I read the others, “Private James Morita, Lieutenant James Falsworth, and Private Gabriel Jones.”
He spaces the names around the board like numbers on a clock, mine at twelve. He caps the blue marker and picks up the red and draws red lines and arrows, connecting names. He draws a rectangle around my name, repeating the process until there are four or five in the space. He adds a red star next to it and says, “Dad would be proud.”
The marker lands with a clunk in the tray and he turns to me, hands on his hips. “I’m going to dig up what I can about these men while you’re at work tomorrow. If any of them are alive, maybe we can set up an interview with them. Someone is bound to remember dear old grandad, right?”
“Then I’ll meet you at Latte and we can head out for the museum.”
“Can’t wait,” I say. “But shouldn’t I come back here and change?”
Colin’s gaze walks all over me, from head to toe. “No offense, but I sort of like you in your black coffee get up, Buck.”
Note to self: I am a soldier on a mission. There is no room for smiles.
Except I smile like a teenager who was just told his crush loves him, full of attitude and pride. “I think you like the free stuff that comes with it.”
Colin sits beside me on the couch. He leans towards me, until his face is mere inches from mine. Those dark eyebrows lift and he says, “I like friends with benefits.”
Note to self.
I inhale his soap mixing with the scent of spare ribs and beer on his breath. “So that’s all I am to you? Free coffee?”
“Buck, benefits doesn’t necessarily mean coffee.” He draws out every word, giving each one a whole new, slightly lurid meaning. His blue eyes are alight and a small smirk dances along the left corner of his mouth which in turns speeds my heart and flicks on the desire.
I know it’s my crotch’s wishful thinking again. The fact Colin’s overly flirtatious doesn’t mean he’s interested. I don’t even think he’s been with a man before. Therefore, not interested in being with me. I take his words and remove the implication, leaving behind the bare, playful meaning.
“You’re right. There’s pastries, too.”
Colin’s playful smirk morphs into a pressed lip smile. He nods and rights himself. “Yeah, pastries are good.” He closes out the images and information on the computer and asks, “What time are you off tomorrow?”
“I’ll be there at 10:30. If you give me your clothes, I can bring them and you can change before we leave.”
I stand and stretch. “Thanks for everything, Colin. Sorry we missed out on the Mexican wrestling.”
“That’s okay, Buck. We got busy…” His face stills and his body stiffens. He hastily adds, “…researching the mission at hand.” He grabs the empty food containers littering the table, lining them up between his arm and his chest. I offer to help and he snaps, “I’ve got this. I’ll see you in the morning?”
“Okay. Good night, Colin.”
He doesn’t bother to look up from his cleaning gig. “‘Night, Buck.”
When I step into the hall and shut the door, I squeeze my eyes and take a deep breath. The pulse in my veins begins to slow, my body becomes less tense. And I stare at the ceiling, cursing everyone and everything, eventually cursing myself for making Colin uncomfortable.
End notes: Thank you for reading!