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: 2,056
Characters: James Buchanan Barnes “Bucky”, Colin Shea, Brock Rumlow (in the clip down there), Nick Fury, Peggy Carter (Agent Carter/Margaret)
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: Did anyone believe I could do this story without Peggy Carter showing up? I honestly thought I could in the beginning…what was I thinking? This story is also getting a little more serious than where I originally intended it to go (blame Bucky’s story), I am still very much in love with this. Been having a blast writing this and living with my favorite movies.
Inspiration for this chapter:
Colin shoves a gentle elbow into my side and says, “Hey, Buck. We’re almost there.”
My eyes open and take a moment to adjust to the light. I yawn and stretch myself into a somewhat state of awake. Sleeping on Colin’s shoulder was the best forty-five minutes of sleep I’ve had in such a long time. No nightmares. No Man in Blue. I almost feel like a new man.
“Go to the restroom and change,” Colin says, handing me the backpack and pointing to the small door at the back of the bus.
Bag in hand, I stand and climb over Colin—his grin turns on as I do. The narrow alley between seats is difficult to navigate as the bus continues on its path, warbling to and fro. I excuse myself as I hit a few elbows, avoiding all eye contact as I keep the forward momentum. When I get to the door, I slide it open and step inside.
The bathroom is the size of a fishbowl. Even with the paper-thin door closed, everything I do in here has got to be public knowledge. Nevertheless, I keep on my mission.
The backpack rests on the sink and I peel off my See You Latte shirt. I pull out a black t-shirt and study it. “Free Licks” whispers at me from faded grey letters. Colin’s shirt. I check the bag for the pre-approved red shirt I packed, but it’s gone.
With a huff that’s neither bothered nor upset, I slide Colin’s shirt on. My work pants are traded for a typical blue pair of jeans. I exchange the black work shoes to my boots. Everything shed is shoved into the backpack, a zrrp punctuating the urine scented air. Looking in the mirror, I pull the band free from my hair and let the strands fall, tucking the sides behind my ears. Dane is right, I should probably shave.
I slide the backpack up my arm and open the door. No one seems to notice that I’ve changed from my coffee jockey uniform. As a matter of fact, no one is looking at me at all. Well, take that back. One person has decided I’m worth a stare.
“My shirt does look good on you,” he utters as I climb over him into my seat.
“And where is my shirt?” I ask, settling the backpack on the floor between my feet.
Colin reaches up to the zipper on his grey sweatshirt and unzips it. Like a magician, my red shirt is revealed, the fabric taut against his chest. “Girls are always stealing my shirts, and you already saw me in ‘licks’ so I thought we could trade for the day.”
Well, if he’s going to put it that way….
“Now arriving at the Natick stop,” the bus driver announces over the intercom. “Natick, Massachusetts.”
The bus pulls into a small lane next to a quaint, white building, bearing the name “Bus” on a sign above in large blue letters. Colin nudges my arm and whispers, “Our stop.”
We disembark the bus. I sling the pack over my shoulder and slide the other strap up my arm until it’s supported properly against my back. I follow Colin out to the main street and down to the corner. He glances up at the sign and points across the street.
“We go to the next corner, cross, take a right then two buildings over to the museum.”
I nod and follow Colin. He pulls his phone from his pocket. I watch as he slides his finger across the screen. A square resembling paper gets a tap then he touches a title, “Buck’s notes”.
“I didn’t want this to be public which is why I’m doing this now instead of on the bus or at Latte. “ His finger flicks along the screen and he begins explaining to me what he found this morning. “Two Howling Commandos are still alive. Timothy Dugan, Dum Dum, is in Tennessee. I have yet to get an address or phone number for him. But, Gabriel Jones is still alive in a retirement home in Maryland, not too far from DC. I’ve already called and left a message. I’m hoping he’ll return the call soon. Um…I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the rest have passed. On the upside, I do have a few leads on their grandchildren. I’m also looking into members of the 107th. Sadly, that’s all I have to report for now.”
Colin reduces the note to a square again and turns off his phone. It slides into his pocket and he offers a sorrowful shrug.
I stop and pull his shoulder. He turns and I say, “I am amazed at what you’ve found so far. More than what I’ve accumulated these past few months. I…” …slipped up? …said too much? …broke my cover? Maybe he didn’t notice. “…thank you.”
We stand paused for a long moment, staring at each other. Colin has a thousand words on his lips, but he just nods and starts walking at a brisk pace, kicking through the brown leaves blowing across the concrete path.
I tuck my hands in my pockets and watch the sidewalk pass under my feet and try to assimilate why we had that awkward pause. Why he’s not flirting with me today. Dread suffocates me as I realize…
He discovered the real me in his research and my words only aided him in his realization.
“After the museum, would you like to grab a bite?” I force the words out, testing how deep this fear is seated.
“Yeah. Your treat?”
“Of course. That’s our deal.”
He catches me in the corner of his eyes. “It is…” A deep breath leaves him and I can’t determine if it’s relief or stress that forces it out of him. But then, he adds a smirk and that long, drawn out “Buck” and my world feels right again.
As brief as a reprieve from my worries as it is.
The museum is bustling when we arrive. A school group is lining up near a giant screen. Large words at the top proclaim “Welcome Back, Cap – President Matthew Ellis” just above a video of a waving American flag. Next to it, a wall is painted blue announcing the title of the exhibit—Captain America: The Living Legend and a Symbol of Courage—then in small letters it announces: on loan from the Smithsonian. A recording begins to speak: “A symbol to the nation, a hero to the world…”
Colin jogs over to a small window on the side of the and lifts two fingers, reaching for his pocket. He exchanges some bills for two red, white, and blue cards that mimic the circles and star of the Man in Blue’s shield. He walks back to me and extends one of the cards my way. “Your ticket for the exhibit, Buck.”
I take it from him and utter, “Thanks,” as I stare at the design that’s been permanently engraved into my mind since the helicarrier fight. I flap it against my hand a few times and take a deep breath, then follow Colin to the entrance. He removes his ball cap and flashes his ticket. I follow suit, showing the usher my own ticket.
The exhibit was more about him, the Man in Blue…Captain America, than the Howling Commandos. The life and history of Steve Rogers from sickly, weak, and undersized to tall, handsome, and the soldier I currently know. This would be the jackpot as far as all my research goes, but as I stare at the awkward man in the black and white image, I can’t place him with certainty at any point in my life. The more I stare, the more I question ever knowing him before.
“That’s the guy with the great caboose?” Colin asks in a whisper at my ear. He spins the hat in his hands and shakes his head. “Doesn’t even look like the same guy I found in my searches, does he?”
Colin tugs on my jacket sleeve. “Come on, Buck. The Commandos have to be around here somewhere.”
Right before my eyes, through the color images on walls and the black and white ones on glass, I watch Steve Rogers turn from that unrecognizable kid into the man I fought, though they’re telling me he was this guy back in World War II, through archive images and movies.
“Battle tested, Captain America and his Howling Commandos quickly earned their stripes,” the voice says, greeting us as we turn the corner. “Their Mission: Taking down HYDRA, the Nazi rogue science division.”
The display shows my mission, next to him on his right, Dum Dum—from what I remember Google telling us—and more Commandos. On his left is me in another line of fighters. Before the image stand mannequins wearing their clothing—my clothing—from WWII. In the center, below Captain America and his regal, squared jaw, sits a shield like something a Knight of the Round Table would carry. On it is a plaque reading: Captain America’s original uniform was stolen from the display in Washington DC before the skirmish. It is believed by many to have been reclaimed by the Captain himself, Steve Rogers, who still fights for honor and freedom for many around the world.
Colin reads the plaque and glances up at the images. “It’s so eerie how much he resembles you, Buck. I mean…”
I clear my throat and send a quick scouting glance around the room. Children linger before each display. A man with a scarred left eye, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, casually strolls into the next area of the display.
“…your hair color is spot on. And those eyes…”
Another man in a suit has a white coiled wire going from his ear into his jacket. He’s speaking, though there’s no one near him listening.
“…they’re playful, soulful just like yours. That mouth…”
Then I notice one of the adults lingering near a tour group turn and cast a glance my way. He’s muscular, dark hair, dark eyes, wearing the expression of a man who enjoys taking a life and won’t regret it for a second.
“…quirking up at the corners as though you’re harboring the best secret in the world…”
He was a HYDRA co-op. What was his name? Rumlow? It doesn’t matter if I can remember him, the deathly light in his eyes definitely recognize me.
The man pretends not to notice me, but I see his eyes follow me as I step away from Colin. The other man with the wire in his ear leans over and tells a kid to stop touching the exhibits with a loud, authoritative voice as though he’s museum security. His eyes remain glued to me, though.
New Mission: Don’t let them catch me.
“…almost like you want to laugh…Where are we going?”
I grab Colin’s hand and drag him towards a set of double doors at the opposite end of the room. Colin and I burst through the doors into a small theater. I choose two empty seats in the recessed corner of the darkened room, though my soldier instincts are taking in the locations of all possible exits and keeping an eye on the primary entrance.
The lights go down further and the projector sends a beam of white through the floating dust motes. A quick pattering sound from the projector mutes behind a woman’s voice. “That was a difficult winter,” she says with a British accent.
The voice punches me in the gut with a fist. I take my eyes from the door to the screen. A woman with bright red lips and dark hair sits in a golden sweater, talking about a mission that I don’t recall. Across the bottom of the screen, “Agent Peggy Carter, SSR” labels who she is, “New York, 1953” indicates the time. She elaborates how Steve Rogers was the brave soul to save the 1000 men—her future husband included—from behind enemy lines. How he affected her life. How she founded S.H.I.E.L.D.
“Peggy Carter,” I whisper into the darkness. The name is this song playing in my brain, but I can’t remember the words or the melody with precision. Something about her makes my stomach get riled, my teeth clench, and my hands ball into fists. Something about the name rests in me like a threat greater than HYDRA and all of her men.
Colin leans closer to me, hat still spinning in his hands. “If she knew Steve Rogers, then she had to have known your grandfather. We should look her up and see if she’s still alive.”
From the corner of my eye, I see a white line as the door starts to separate from the wall. I grab Colin’s hat and stick it on my head. Colin leans closer and asks, “What are you do—?”
I cover his mouth with my hand. “Kiss me,” I beg under my breath.
Colin’s eyebrows lift. “You want me to…what?”
White is growing between the door and the wall. I see a black covered muscular arm holding a Glock 19. Rumlow. Definitely his brand of firearm.
There’s no time to think. I give my lips a quick dousing as I pull him closer to me. I plant my lips to his, keeping my eyes on the man sneaking into the theater from under the brim of Colin’s hat. The operative takes the time to scan over the audience made up of mostly school children. His eyes crawl along to our dark corner.
My eyes fall shut and I kiss Colin as though this will be my last kiss ever. My fingers brush through his light brown hair as our tongues meet for the first time. Thrill runs through my veins speeding faster than my pulse. Fireworks spark behind my eyelids as Colin stops pushing me away and starts pulling me in. His hand finds my cheek and slides along my jaw to hold me still. My eyes pop open in time to see Rumlow leaving the room.
Colin and I gasp for air as I break the seal of our lips. White dots of Peggy Carter on the screen reflect in his dark eyes. He blinks and takes a breath. “Buck,” he heaves in a whisper, “if I had known you felt that way…Today would have been much different.”
Sure. Now he says that. Note to self.
And Colin pulls me to him and kisses me again. This time he’s the one that pulls away and utters, “Later, definitely,” and playfully tugs on the brim of his Red Sox hat, returning his attention to the movie of the woman who claimed to be an integral part of Steve’s life.
His first life.
I’m not mentioned once.
End Notes: Thank you for reading!
Images are screencapped from my digital copy of Captain America: Winter Soldier.