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: 2056
Characters: James Buchanan Barnes “Bucky”, Peggy Carter, Baron Zemo, Underood – not Patty, but related Black Widow type character.
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: Oh, Agent Carter. I love you! I’m hopeful that Netflix will take you under her wing!
Inspiration for this chapter: One of my favorite parts of Winter Soldier is when Steve visits Peggy. I always cry during this part. Always. So I knew it would be included somehow, someway…Miss Peggy Carter and Bucky. And the fondue line from First Avenger? Yeah. I will never leave that behind. (LOL)
I remove the ball cap from my head and brush my long hair back from my face. I spot an older woman wearing a white blouse and a pink sweater over her shoulders, buttoned at the top to keep it in place. Her matching pink lips smile when she notices me walking towards her. “May I be of help to you sir?” Her accent is sprinkled with hints of German, her poise stiff and tall.
The name plate on the desk reads: PATTY UNDERWOOD.
“Yes, Ms. Underwood. I’m Mr. James from Harvard. I have an appointment to interview Ms. Margaret Carter.”
She sits and puts on a pair of short rectangle glasses that were hanging on a chain around her neck. Her fingers dance across her keyboard and she lifts her chin to read the computer screen. “Yes, Mr. James. I see Ms. Carter’s niece arranged this interview. I’ll show you to her room.”
She sets a “Will Return Soon” sign on the counter and leads me to the elevator bay. Her fingernail clicks against the up arrow button. The elevator behind us dings as the doors slide open. She steps inside before me and pushes the three button. The doors close and the elevator jerks before taking us upward at a snail’s pace.
Patty Underwood folds her hands and rests them against her grey skirt. She stares straight ahead, as do I, but in my peripheral I notice that she’s checking me out, her irises at the corners of her eyes. I try not to fidget under her scrutiny…
Why is she studying me like she is? There is no way she knows anything about me, and yet she’s glaring at me as though she’s about to pull out a knife and hold it to my throat.
The elevator jerks to a quick stop on the third floor. A ding rings out as the doors slide open. Patty steps out and away from the elevator like a soldier—tall, arms stiff, neck tight—and leads me down to room 324. Her posture almost falls lazy as her knuckles lightly rap on the door. She opens it and cheerfully says, “Peggy, you have a visitor,” before allowing me to pass. “I’ll be back when it’s lunch time.” Patty smiles at Peggy, but gives me a once over before she shuts the door.
Peggy is in her bed, wearing a white gown. The head of the bed is angled so she’s reclining comfortably. Her silver hair is parted neatly and set just like I remembered her brown hair in the 1940s. Her brown eyes are wiser, older, but still have a light with a spark of danger behind them. Her withered hand reaches out and pats the bed. “Have a seat, Mr. James.”
I pull the chair by the window closer to her bed and sit down. My hat comes to rest on the bedside table and I say, “Hi, Peggy.”
“Sergeant Barnes?” she gasps, starting a coughing fit. “What are you doing here?”
“I need to talk to you.”
“What could we possibly have to talk about?”
Déjà vu. “Steve.”
“Captain Rogers? Is he all right? Did something happen to him?”
“I was hoping you could give me some answers. Have you heard from him lately?”
Peggy shakes her head. “I can’t say for sure. Steve and I had a date …” Her voice goes quiet and she stares at me, almost unbelieving. “Sergeant Barnes? But how are you…? You’re dead. As of the mission in the Alps.”
“I should be, but something hap—”
Peggy interrupts me, saying, “Steve cried into my shoulder over your loss. He blamed himself for losing you. So much so, he went on that blasted mission without a care for his safety…that mission to take down the Red Skull and save New York from decimation…that ended with him plummeting with a plane into the arctic. That damn mission that took his…”
She sniffles and dabs at her teary eyes with her hand. I lean forward and grab a tissue, passing it to her. She snatches it from my hand.
“He came back for me, you know? Looking just like he did back then. Time never touched him. Just like you.” She dabs at her eyes and takes a deep shaky breath. “I can’t believe you’re here, like that. What sort of testing did Hydra do on you?”
“I’m not sure,” I answer with a stiff shrug and a shake of my head. “I was hoping you could give me some answers.”
She licks her lips and huffs. “I vaguely remember the war. I know Captain Rogers rescued you from Zola. They were testing a similar serum, but they weren’t successful. I suppose Hydra knows their tests worked now?”
I feel compelled to skip that answer and go straight for the end result. “I’m no longer with them, Peggy. That fight with him…he jogged something in my memory. Something that was stronger than all their brainwashing. Something that changed my world.”
Her eyes fall downcast, watching as she shreds the tissue in her hands. Her voice is quiet when she finally says, “He loved you so very much. More than I ever thought he should.”
It feels like she’s stabbing a knife into my heart and twisting it. “I know he did, Peg.”
Peggy’s brown eyes meet mine, steeling over as she says, “I know somewhere in that big heart of his, he loved me, too. Sometimes I think it was more, sometimes less. I know he was the only man to bring a smile to my face during those times.”
“To be honest, I think he was torn between us.” I reach over and take her hand. It’s icy and frail, but can still squeeze the fuck out of my hand. “Which is why I’m here. I need to know if he’s okay. Have you seen him? Heard from him recently?”
She blinks a few times, staying as quiet as a still day. Then, with a tilt of her head, she says, “Sergeant Barnes? What are you doing here?” Her eyes walk all over my features. “You’re supposed to be dead. How are you the same as all those years ago?”
“Peggy, we were talking about Steve, remember?”
“Why? Is something wrong with Captain Rogers?”
Peggy stiffens and tries to sit up. Coughs come on stronger this time. Her hand with the tissue goes to her mouth. I get up and pour her a glass of cool water. Then I hold the glass to her lips as she sips it from the glass and lays back. I set the glass on the table and take the chair again.
“He came to see me…said he he was late for his date to dance with his best girl.” She sniffles. “He came back for me.”
I take her hand again and pat the backside of it…
“Bucky Barnes, you are my son’s savior. Where would my Steven be without you?” a blonde woman with brilliant blue eyes asks. She sits at the kitchen table in the meager apartment. “Thank you for taking care of that bully before he got hurt.”
She starts coughing and cannot catch her breath. I get up and grab a glass of water, holding it as she takes slow sips. When the coughing fit has passed, I set the glass on the table and take my seat. Her hand takes mine and the other pats the back of it in a motherly thank you.
“Bucky, you might be sixteen, but you are certainly a hero.” A small laugh escapes her peach tinted lips. “Just when I was going to offer you a glass of milk.”
I laugh along, though the thought of how weak she was becoming sat like lead in my brain. “That’s okay, Mrs. Rogers. I wasn’t thirsty.”
She stands up and waves me off. “Nonsense. You’re still a growing young man and you need your milk.” A few steps towards the small refrigerator later, she adds, “And Bucky, you’re old enough now to call me Sarah.”
Another coughing fit takes her over before her fingers could touch the handle of the refrigerator. She crumples on the floor, coughing into her hand. When I rush over, I notice the blood on her palm, but she tucks it away under her folded arm and smiles at me. We both pretend it never happened.
“Sergeant Barnes, are you still with me?”
I shake away the memory and smile at Peggy. “Peg…when did Steve come back to see you?”
“I’m not quite sure of the date. About a month ago?”
“How did he look?”
“Handsome as ever, Healthy,” she says, a smile playing with her lips. “Post serum or not.”
“He wasn’t scratched or beaten when he came to visit?” I ask, wincing in guilt.
“Why would he be beaten? What happened?”
It’s then I tell her about the skirmish, ending with me pulling him out of the Potomac. Peggy listens in complete silence, though she’s staring daggers at me. Her hands ball into fists. And I couldn’t be more thankful that she doesn’t have a gun. At least not one that I’ve noticed.
“And I need to find him. It’s imperative.”
Peggy inhales deeply, coughing. “I don’t know where Steve is. I remember seeing that helicarrier in the river on the television and I believe Steve came to visit before then.”
“What about Stark? Are you still in touch with him?”
“Howard Stark and I don’t fondue. When will you and Steve get that through your heads?”
Both my hands rise to my shoulders, palms out. “Fondue is cheese and bread. Nothing more than that. Understood. But…I mean, Howard helped create the post…him. I thought maybe they became friends, kept in touch. Look, I just have to know if Steve is alive. I have to talk to him. I have to tell him that I’m starting to remember.”
“Howard and his wife died in 1991. So…” Peggy’s chin quivers and tears well in her eyes. “You’re going to tell Steve you love him,” she states, trying to keep her composure.
I shake my head. “I don’t know, Peg. I…”
As suddenly as the tears welled, they disappear from her eyes. Peggy stares at me blankly as though she’s trying to remember me from another point in time. Her hands lift and point my way as though she has a gun, pointing it at my nose. “What do you want, Sergeant Barnes? Why are you breaking into my house in the middle of the night?”
And I know where she went.
“I’m sorry, Peggy…uh, Agent Carter. I shouldn’t have come here. I’m going to go now.”
She nods and lowers her hands slowly. “It’s for the best. Steve might love you, but he loves me, too. That’s just something you’ll have to deal with, Sergeant Barnes.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I say with a bow of my head. “I’ll be going now.”
“See that you shut my door on your way out.”
I leave her room, doing as she asked. The question of Steve is more tangled than ever before. Did he really love her more than me? Is that what happened to us? Or was he too grief stricken about my loss like she said?
“I hope your visit went well, Mr. James,” Patty Underwood says as I pass the front desk.
I glance over and see a syringe and a small glass bottle of clear fluid on a small silver tray on her desk. My eyes flicker to hers and she quickly looks away. “It went as expected,” I answer in a flat, perturbed voice as I continue to stalk towards the door, hands in pockets.
“Well, good,” she says, proving she wasn’t paying attention at all. She turns to the door of the office behind her. “Dr. Zemo, that medicine has arrived and is ready to be administered.”
A dark-haired man steps out of the office behind her. He’s snapping on some gloves. “Egszellent,” oozes from his mouth in a thick German accent. “Vell, done, Undervood.”
I get past the glass doors and pull the burner from my pocket. “6A” is the only name programmed into the phone. I touch it and in moments I hear Colin’s voice. “Hey, 6B.” I can breathe a little easier.
END NOTES: Thank you for reading! The images are my own Screencaps from Captain America: Winter Soldier. The gifs were found on giphy.