Tag Archives: winter soldier

“Hey, 6B.” – chapter 18

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.

Genre: RomCom/Action

Chapter word count: 1,186

Characters: James Buchanan Barnes “Bucky”, 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: Almost there. The last four chapters will be posted next week!!!


18.

There was once a time in my life where I was a ghost. Get in. Get out. Never get caught by surprise, but take them down with shock. Now, I’m the most popular man in the United States, much less the world. Everyone knows my face and my name. I need to become that ghost again and soon.

First and foremost, I need to be calm and lay low until the streets have calmed. Unfortunately, I have only one option for accomplishing that task and it’s the last thing I want to do right now. But there was nowhere else to go.

I knock under the 419 on the door, knowing I’m probably walking into an ambush—they must have realized who Mr. James and Mr. Collins are by now. I don’t know if I’d much rather get arrested and get this chase over with or have Colin never answer the door.

After the third knock with no response, I know I’d pick being arrested.

I press my ear to the door and hear nothing but my own heart screaming. The peep-hole remains bright white and when I spy through the opening, I find nothing but a blurred fish-eye view of the desk. Then I knock a few more times, checking the hallway for a sign of life. Both are void of a presence.

The burner phone emerges from my pocket. No incoming calls or messages from 6A at all. Meaning what, though? He left? Gave up his mission?

A shadow passes by the peep-hole. A deep, husky voice booms through the door, “Didn’t you see the do not disturb on the door knob? Come back later. We’re busy.”

So he gave up on me? Which might be for the best.

With a heavy breath, I wander the halls towards the back stairwell. My hands are tucked into the pockets of my jacket, hat pulled low, eyes on the gold damask carpeting as I go. Not returning a salutation from a woman, glancing back once she’s passed.

Nope, don’t know her.

The back stairs take me all the way down to a fire exit in the alley, escort free. One end of the alley is open to the street, the other a bar. The street side has a suspicious black SUV crawling along, threatening to stop at the curb—similar to Rumlow’s old ride.

I’m not afraid of him, but I need to find Colin and ensure he’s safe. Besides, it’s still too light to go unnoticed around the streets. DC Saloon it is.

The interior of the place reeks of stale cigars and aged alcohol. The lighting is barely alive much like the three men draped over the bar with their drinks. A few of the tables have patrons eating fried and greasy bar food with their beers. A few are smoking and drinking while laughing at jokes older than me. And one soul dares to sit in the almost black atmosphere in the back booths. I can’t believe he’s here.

“Hey, 6B,” Colin says as I slide into the booth across from him and lift my cap enough to see him.

“6A.” I lift my finger at the passing waitress and ask for a beer.

Colin takes a sip of his beer. “You were right about Piper. He showed up an hour ago…wanting…well…”

I lift my hand, stopping Colin’s rambling. “You don’t…” I fall silent when the waitress reappears. She drops a napkin and the mug of foamy beer on the table and takes off. I take a sip and set it down, watching the suds slide back into the dark amber brew. “I have to tell you something.”

“What is it, Buck?”

“I know that what we’re doing is fun…that I can’t expect you to commit to me…I mean, we are searching for my old flame, for crying out loud. I can’t ask you to love me when I can’t be sure that I’d be all in if we ever found Steve. I’m sorry I—”

“You love me?” The famous smirk parks itself on Colin’s face. “Because I could see myself fall—”

“Don’t.” I spin the beer around on the table.

Colin laughs, but it’s not his typical hearty laugh. This one is more subdued and trying to remain hidden, almost vengeful in tone. “You and I aren’t that different, Buck. Let me tell you about this girl I was in love with…we had just had the best sex of my life—at that time. I was thinking clearly, talking about spending the upcoming spring break with her when she said she wanted to break up with me and got out of bed. I remember crawling over those messed up sheets and blankets, panicking and begging her to at least tell me why.

“She got dressed—including her puffy winter coat—tossing my underwear in my face and sitting on the edge of the bed.  My underwear was in my hands as I sat beside her. Julie’s eyes were leaking streams of tears. She told me she was starting hormone therapy to become a man and she didn’t think I’d be the sort of guy who could still love her as a him. Hell, if I found her, she might still have my heart.”

“The Julie from college?” I ask, remembering the notation on the whiteboard in his apartment.

He nods. “One in the same.” He guzzles down some beer. “For years, I’ve spent my time trying not to let myself get too close to anyone. Then you came along and a little spark went off in my pants…and I got to know you and I realized, it’s okay to let my heart win once in a while. Steve is in the past and …” He reaches across the table, brushing the back of my hand with two fingers. “…I already let you win my heart right out from under Julie. Just let me prove to you I can be that guy for you, Buck.”

“Colin…” The real question is could I be that guy for him? Can I look into those sad, soulful eyes and break his very heart by letting him know I have a solid lead on Steve? As I sit here staring at him…I can’t. So I opt for bad news number two. “…you should know Peggy died. In addition to the skirmish and the fight I had with Steve, the authorities want me for questioning in connection to her death, because the circumstances seem questionable.”

Colin sucks down the last of his beer. “When did this happen?”

“Not long after I left the hospital. I didn’t…”

His fingers thread with mine and he interrupts with a hasty “I know, Buck.”

The letters of my name become syllables from his mouth. His hand wraps around mine and the intensity of his gaze prompts flames to lick at my face. I can’t believe he’s flirting with me now?

“We’re going to have to lay low until we can find an alternate way to get back to Boston. At few hours at least.” After a deep huff, I add, “It might be best for us to separate and travel home separately. I’ll meet you at the apartments in a day or two. Once we can be sure the coast is clear.”

Colin raises his eyebrow. He retracts his hand and shoves himself up on the bench seat of the booth so he’s an inclined plank. His hand slides into his pocket and pulls out as fast, slamming on the table. “Until it’s time to head home…” He lifts his hand showing me a hotel key card.

I gape at it, then him. Then it. “Where did you get that?”

“Tom Piper likes to keep an extra penthouse so he doesn’t expose himself…” Colin snorts. “…to any…let’s go with gossip.” He smirks with sheer pride.

“You stole it? Won’t he notice?”

“Stealing sounds so crass. I borrowed it temporarily. While he’s busy playing with the male escort I charged to his credit card, we have one of the penthouses all to ourselves.”

“We’re going to get caught.”

“Trust me. Tom will be tied up for hours with Hank, the buck-ing lassoing cowboy. Hours. And if we get caught, Hank’s ad mentioned something about commemorative photos…I’m sure he wouldn’t mind sharing with us…the world.”

I reach into my own pocket and pull out a few bills to cover the beers and tip, tossing them on the table. I grab Colin’s hand and, together, we slide out of the booth.

The cloudy grey weather blinds me as we leave the dank, dark bar. It takes a moment to adjust to the light and when I do, I check the street end of the alley for that SUV. Gone. But to be safe, I pull out my knife and wedge it into the space between the door and the jamb. A moment later it pops open.

Colin takes me to the service elevator in the back hallway. He presses the button and the doors open immediately. We step inside and he pushes the ten for the top floor.

“Do you know which room it is?” I ask.

“We’ll just have to try the key in all of the doors until we find the right one.”

“You’ve got some balls,” I say, shaking my head.

The elevator stops its slow ramble and the doors open just as Colin grabs my butt. “I’ll show you my balls.”

The poor maid stands there staring, jaw dropped, eyes wide, taking on the color of the red star imprinted on the shoulder of my metal arm. Neither the cart full of toiletries and towels nor her moves. Not even a squeak or a blink.

I try to fix the situation by blurting out, “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Colin leans forward and, with a sultry deep drawl, tells her, “I know exactly what I’m talking about.”

And she just keeps staring, mouth dangling.

His lips press into mine, tense at first then melting and conforming into mine. I hear the click-click-click of the elevator button being pressed, but don’t dare to open my eyes to see who is pushing the button. Colin and I remain entranced in the kiss as the doors slide shut and the elevator jumps into motion.

“You’re rotten,” I mumble against his mouth.

“Really? I hear I’m pretty great,” Colin retorts.

I shove him away from me, laughing. “We’re going to get caught.”

“That’s part of the fun,” Colin says. His mouth presses together, beginning to form the ‘buh’ in my name. It draws out long and slow, each letter becoming its own name—“Buck.”—and I can’t take my eyes of his lips.

My finger jabs at the ten button in hopes it takes the elevator from sloth to rocket. Unfortunately, it keeps on the slowest pace known to man. I can count the minutes drag as we climb the last few stories. Eight—one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine-ten—Nine…Eventually we stop on ten and the doors slide open.

Colin and I stay close together as we go from door to door. Card in, red light, card out. Starting with door 1034, we proceed around the hall, jumping between the doors on alternating sides of the hallway. We hit door 1020 and Colin has the card ready to slide into the slot when the door pops open. A man in an expensive grey suit has his back to us, saying “I don’t care if you think the ghost can’t be found. Keep searching. I want the streets watched and monitored, twenty-four seven. A man with an entire metal arm cannot be that hard to find.”

A deep voice says, “Yes, sir,” sounding tired as though it’s been raked over a million rocks. “What about the rumor of a friend helping him?”

The man in the suit takes a backward step into the hall. Colin and I take long, quiet strides towards the door with the sign above it reading “Vending”, a few rooms down. We open it and scramble to get inside. As the door closes, I hear the man in suit screaming, “Forget the supposed friend! He’s not in any of the intel reports! The Winter Soldier is your mission, Rumlow!. Find him!”

Colin turns off the light switch moments before the man storms past, cursing everyone for not doing their jobs.

“Friend of yours?” he asks in a low whisper.

I shake my head. Though his dark brown hair was meticulously combed and parted and the suit expensive, he isn’t registering in any memory—nothing new. The voice, though…

“His voice had the same tone as the Dr. from Peggy’s hospital. Less German this time, though. I knew Rumlow was after me, but killing off Peggy…” That’s something one would do to hurt Steve more than me. Why would he—?

They want me to think Steve is next on the “to murder” list so I’ll come out of hiding.

“I think the coast is clear, Buck.”

Colin opens the door and pokes his head out, checking both ends of the hallway. In the far distance, the elevator dings. He looks at me. “Only half the rooms left to check. And if they get that close again, we might just have to kiss.”

It doesn’t come to that. A few rooms down the hall, we have a green light. Colin opens the door to the grand suite with views of the massive gardens below. The bedroom on the right could house a family of four comfortably. The king-sized four-poster bed is made up with mounds of pillows and a golden color comforter. I barely get a glance at the double doors that lead out to a balcony before Colin has his lips to mine and tackles me on the bed, making sure I land under him. He rips the hat from my head and tosses it across the room. The jacket yells zzzzzrp! in the quiet of breaths being grasped.

My mind should be in the here and the now, because I’d love nothing more than to be with Colin in every way. Instead, I’m thinking about the Man in Blue. Steve. If I did this, would it be considered cheating or taking a step forward into moving on?

I turn my head and press my hands against his chest. “Colin,” I heave in a breath, “I can’t. Not yet.”

His blue eyes search through mine. I know he’s reading every thought I have, all labeled with the Man in Blue’s name—the mission that never ends. “We could only do it just a little bit. I hear it doesn’t count as cheating.”

“What’s a little bit?” I ask.

Colin gets to his knees and holds up his flattened hands, leaving about a six or seven inch gap between them. “About that much?”

Granted it doesn’t come close to measuring what I’ve seen, but… “It still counts.”

Colin huffs and collapses beside me on the bed. He leans forward and gives a swift peck. “Okay, Buck. I know Steve si on your mind.” He plants another peck on my lips. “I’ll wait.”


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Ending Notes: Thank you for reading!

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Filed under Hey 6B, the fangirling has made it here

“Hey, 6B.” – chapter 17

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.

Genre: RomCom/Action

Chapter word count: 2,905

Characters: James Buchanan Barnes “Bucky”, Colin Shea, Brock Rumlow, Sam Wilson “The Falcon”, original characters

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: Bucky….always so dark, always in action. Thinking I should have written this from Colin Shea’s POV.


17.

I get out of the cab at the curb and look at the tan brick building. The Omni Shoreham Hotel in DC is bustling with cars and buzzing with people. Head down with the ball cap pulled low, hands in pockets, I casually stroll along the brick paved path, through the black metal fence, crossing between parked cars on the circular drive.

Once inside, I bypass the front desk and head straight for the elevators. I get up to the fourth floor and follow the signs until I’m at room 419. I knock on the door. Light through peephole flickers from white to black to white again. The door pops open and a huge smile welcomes me.

“Welcome to our room,” Colin says, wearing his favorite lack of shirt, swinging an arm in a grand gesture. The white towel at his waist is slipping fast, but he catches it before it slides past the V of his hips.

That was a close…Not that I would have minded.

The room is decked out in neutral colors and fancy dark woods. Everything looks as though it costs a million dollars from the tan couch to the desk with scroll designs engraved into it. Very high-end for two guys on a severe budget. I look into the bedroom and notice the bedding has been wrecked as though he’s spent a week in that bed. Nothing I hadn’t seen in his own apartment before. But this time, jealously scrapes in my gut like a lion desperate to escape.

I turn to Colin, who’s wearing that sinful grin he likes to wear after…“You slept with Sharon Carter?”

The smile fades and Colin shakes his head. “No, Buck.”

“Then why are you in the towel?”

“I was going to take a bubble bath.”

Note to Self: Colin likes bubble baths.

“And where is Sharon?”

“She left me for you.”

Uh…“What?”

Colin walks past me into the bed room, tapping on his chin in faux-deep-thought. “I think we parted ways back at the offices of S.H.I.E.L.D. We had a great time going through the archives, but when she got the call about a possible sighting of you in Boston, we parted ways.”

“And you didn’t sleep with her?”

Colin’s hand flies to his heart as if I shot him. “Buck, I’m hurt you would think that.”

I hold up one finger. “The bed is torn apart.” Another finger. “You’re wearing a towel as though you’ve just finished being with a woman…like back home.” Another finger. “Your hair is disheveled…you’re worn out…” I inhale deeply to double-check the aroma in the air around him. “You smell like roses and Carter mixed together.”

“Oh. You’re jealous.” He places a quick kiss on my lips as he passes me into the bathroom. “I like it on you.”

An irritated huff bursts from me. “That doesn’t answer any of my questions.”

“Because you’re overreacting, Buck.”

“I don’t think it’s overreacting when, for a second time in my life, a Carter has tried to break apart a relationship I have with a guy I have feelings for.”

Colin stops pacing. This prideful smirk crawls up and nests itself on his face. “You have feelings for me?”

My heart rages in my chest and my arms fly out as I growl, “That’s not even the point of this.”

Colin lifts one eyebrow. “I believe it is.”

My metal hand flies up to halt any more of Colin’s words. “I can’t even talk to you right now.”

I turn to leave the room and Colin’s hand grabs my metallic bicep, grip tight. “Buck…I’ve not been with anyone else since I started hanging out with you.”

Somewhere in my mind, I know it’s true. I also know women are his addiction. Maybe if it wasn’t with a Carter, I could look past this. Instead, I jerk away from him and stalk though the room, stopping at the door, hand on the door knob. “Did Sharon get this room for you?”

“Actually, some guy also doing research at the Library of Congress offered me the room…Tom Piper, I think. Why?”

“Because he probably wants to sleep with you, too.” Over my shoulder, I see Colin holding the towel at his waist. “Have fun, Colin.” I open the door and leave.

#

Walking around the very populated Washington DC Mall is like swimming with eels. The air is electric and tense under the humid, cloudy skies. I’m on high alert as though I’m being stalked by everyone here. Everything is too familiar, too dangerous. And if one more person says, “On your left,” as they run by, I am going to kill someone.

I don’t know why I even came back to DC. Sometimes I think I want to get caught. Have it all erased again. Forget Colin, the man…everything was easier when I couldn’t remember.

“On your left…” a man says jogging past my left in tight shorts and a tank top, brushing my arm. He’s rather built and when he glances back, I notice his shifty brown eyes glaring. His dark hair is sweat stained and askew. He’s built like a battering ram—all muscle in his arms and chest.

Though our eyes touched for just a moment, I definitely recognize Rumlow. Proof that paranoia has it merits. He keeps running, though his pace is slowing. I tug my hat down and take a sharp turn, running up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I dash around one of the grand columns near President Lincoln. A quick check over my shoulder spots Rumlow bolting up the steps, pushing the com in his ear with his fingers and talking too low for me to hear.

I remove my hat and tuck it into my jacket. My hair gets a quick finger brushing as I check around the landing below Lincoln’s feet. A group of children are passing through with a guide regaling them with Lincoln’s significance in history. A few people walk randomly as though they’re just cutting through. And then…my opening…

A woman in thick coat and sporting a Swedish accent directs a group of men and women  to squeeze together as she aims the digital camera. I saunter up to the woman and say, “Would you like me to take the picture so you can be in the shot?”

Her blue eyes twinkle. “Thank you.” She hands the camera to me and squeezes into the middle of the group. I play with the buttons on the camera until she yells at me, “The button on the top.”

Rumlow hits the landing.

“Okay, everyone, squeeze together.” I say waving my hand to the left end of the group. “Uncle Olov, move in. Your head is going to be cut off.”

The older gentleman actually moves.

Rumlow stops behind me.

“Asrid, duck your head a smidge. You’re blocking Tova’s smile.” Two of the women actually adjust their positions.

Either I’m good a name guessing…

I lift the camera and look through the viewfinder, blocking my face. Rumlow walks in front of me and I growl, “I could get the shot if someone would just move.”

“Sorry,” he utters and walks away. I snap the picture as Rumlow’s voice trails off in the distance. “I’ve lost Winter Soldier, repeat, the ghost is gone…”

After a few snaps of the camera button, I return the camera and walk off in the opposite direction, going up to the street level. I know I need to hide, and yet, I have nowhere to go.  Unless…The card given to me at See You Latte is removed from my wallet. “Sam Wilson.” The address of the VA office isn’t too far from here. This could be a trap, or it could be my sanctuary. If anything, it will be somewhere to hide until dark.

#

The building is unassuming, almost residential in nature. The streets seem clear from men with earpieces and walkies here. The sky above is filled with menacing grey clouds too thick for photographic satellites to catch any images. I hope.

I take my time walking into the building, merging with a few men who were already headed inside. The wide hallway greets me with humming fluorescent lights. Under glass, white letters on a black letter board give a listing of names and offices upstairs. Similar signage along the hall point out rec and meeting rooms.

I hear a familiar voice echoing in the stairwell at my left. I turn face the corkboard next to the letter board on my right, keeping my back to the voice as it grows in volume.

Lost dog. Free cats. Guitar Lessons. Pizza coupons—I’ll just take that for dinner. A dance announcement for the tenth. Meetings schedule. All pinned in a haphazard arrangement. As I reach out for the pizza coupon, the voice passes behind me. I tuck the paper into my pocket and glance in its direction to see the back of a man’s head. Could definitely be the Sam from the cafe.

He stops at a table and arranges some papers and pamphlets. His head turns my way. My eyes fall to the yellowing, shiny white tiles and I start walking towards the room. After ten steps or so, I lift my eyes in time to see him walk through the doors next to the table. I lean against the wall near the opening and listen as he starts a meeting.

“Welcome. Our support group will start in a moment. I’m Sam Wilson and I am here to listen and help however I can. I just have one thing to do before we start…”

Not even a blink of a moment later, Sam pokes his head out of the door, looking at me. “I didn’t think I’d ever see you. Come on in. You don’t have to talk this time, but I think the others would like to meet you.”

#

I’ve been listening to these veterans speaking for about an hour now. Sam is winding down the meeting, telling his story for my benefit—retired from active duty, decided to help out a friend, and announcing his departure soon from the VA, deciding to take on a new duty for our country.

The meeting ended with a round of applause from the attendees and promises for a farewell bash. The men and women filter out of the room, stopping to shake the hand of this man who, I still cannot say with conviction, is someone I should trust.

His dark eyes meet mine and he tilts his head towards the door. “Would you like to go upstairs to my office for a talk?”

My toes squeeze into the floor of my boot, though I know my knife is embedded in the sole. I stand and nod.

“Room 227. Let me collect these papers and I’ll be up.”

Hands in my pockets, head down, I make my way to room 227. “Sam Wilson” is engraved on a black sign by the door. I open it and step inside, shutting the door as stealthy as possible. The moment I’m inside, I drop to one knee and pull the knife from my boot. I stand unfold the blade from the handle. I slash through the air with the knife—whhsh. whhsh, whssh—completing a figure eight. With satisfaction for the heft and hold, I fold the knife away and slide it into my waistband for access.

I pace around his office, refusing to appear comfortable…weak…in any way. His walls are littered with framed degrees and commendations for his actions—in war and out. There are pictures of him with various Generals from the different branches of the military. One of him with a fatigue clad prince of the United Kingdom. A few of him with President Ellis. On the opposite wall is a large flat screen running a news feed with the sound off.

Under his window are shelves of books. On the shelves, pictures of him with Iron Man and War Machine on a helicarrier. There are a few of him with the ‘Nameless Natasha’ and Thor at some party. But what catches my eye are the pictures of Sam with Captain America.

My mission.

My Steve.

Well, maybe not anymore, but at one point def—

“Before you ask, yeah, I know Cap,” Sam says, closing his office door. He points at the picture in my hands. “That was taken a few months ago. He came and talked with the veterans about his struggles, gave them words of encouragement. You should have been here.”

I never heard him enter the room. Not good.

I set the framed image on the shelf. It takes a minute for me to want to peel my eyes away from The Man in Blue before I ask, “So…what would you like to talk about?”

“You just get straight to the point, don’t you?” Sam asks, laughing nervously. He motions to one of the two burgundy leather chairs in the corner. “Have a seat.”

“I’m good right here.”

“All right.” Sam sits in one chair. He leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees, folding his hand together. “I just had a few questions. Okay? They aren’t anything to be worried about. I just have to know…”

Nothing to be worried about? That throws up a million red flags. My fingers tense and release as quickly. I can’t divulge the presence or location of the knife and lose all surprise.

“…are you James Buchanan Barnes? The sergeant from the 107th in World War ii?”

He doesn’t play around. Just went straight for the jugular.

I shake my head like his questions aren’t anything but flies near my face.

Sam stares up at me. “I know you’re panicking right now, but I’m with…a mutual friend who wants to remain out-of-the-way for now.”

My steady soldier hands flex, though my fugitive heart thuds behind this calm exterior begging me to run. The images flow through my sight, one after another in a quick roll call of who’s who in power. I suck in a deep breath through my nostrils and ask, “Which of your friends are looking for me?”

“Honestly? All of them for one reason or another,” Sam answers. “But I’m with the only one who truly matters.”

The thud in my chest just stops. Dead. “That’s impossible. He might have known me, but I almost killed him,” I say.

“He knows that wasn’t the real you.”

I turn around and ask, “So you’re telling me you’re with…” I stop dead when I see the image on the television screen. “Is there a volume for this?”

Sam scrambles to his feet and lunges for his desk. He picks up a screen device and presses a button on the screen. The volume isn’t blaring more sharing a secret.

“As stated, Margaret Carter, Peggy to her loved ones, has passed away today at the age of ninety-five. She has been out of the public eye since retiring as S.H.I.E.L.D. Director in the mid-1990s. Suffering from Alzheimer’s, she resided at the Daniel Sousa Memorial Home where she stayed until her death. She is survived by her niece, Sharon Carter, who has been unable to be reached for a comment.

“Her doctor called the cause of her death suspicious. An autopsy has been ordered and the authorities have been brought in to investigate, calling this a poisoning. They are looking to speak with this man.” My image takes up the entire screen. “He visited Ms. Carter earlier today. This is the same man wanted in conjunction with the recent upset and destruction in Washington DC. He is thought to be in the DC area. If you see him, do not approach as he is considered armed and dangerous. Call police immediately…”

Sam and I gape at each other.

“I didn’t kill her,” I tell him. Though…maybe thoughts of it over time have creeped through my mind. “I was only asking about Steve.”

Sam nods, pressing his lips together. “I know you didn’t,” he says, pacing about his office. “But you’ve been identified and your safety…your freedom is at risk. You need to go.”

He picks up a pad of paper and pen from his desk. The pen furiously scribbles across the sheet. He rips it off and hands it to me, setting fire to the rest of the pad in a glass bowl. He places a clipboard on top of the blaze when the top half of the pad is mostly ash, the fire slowly extinguishing.

“The address is a safe house. Get there and call that number.”

“But what about Steve? Is he alive? Does he even want to see me? I need to talk to him.”

“You need to leave.” Sam picks up the black phone receiver from his desk. He punches a button on the top listing and then touches 9-9-1-1. His dark eyes are full of apologies. “Go” whispers from him so low I barely hear it. The he clears his throat and says, “Hello, yes. I’m Sam Wilson, I work at the VA Volunteer Association. I’m at the M Street location near Old Stone House Park. I ran a meeting tonight, and I think that man you’re looking for was there.” He covers the bottom part of the phone and growls, “Go. Now.” He uncovers the phone and says, “Yeah. I’ll be waiting. Fifteen minutes?”

That’s my cue to leave.


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“Hey, 6B” – chapter 16

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.

Genre: RomCom/Action

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)


16.

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.”

“Okay…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.


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END NOTES: Thank you for reading! The images are my own Screencaps from Captain America: Winter Soldier. The gifs were found on giphy.

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“Hey, 6B.” – chapter 15

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.

Genre: RomCom/Action

Chapter word count: 1,186

Characters: James Buchanan Barnes “Bucky”, 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: Oh, Agent Carter. You may have been Steve’s love, but I adore you with or without him. This chapter was definitely inspired by Agent Carter, season 1 & 2, and CAWS. And after watching Civil War, I want to say, it’s even that…


15.

 

The three-hour train ride from Boston to DC is the best option we had for safe travels. Easy in and out under the radar, unlike the airport and all of the security there. Better than driving, because Colin doesn’t like to, and I tend to speed. Plus, we got to interact like boyfriends—the kissing, hand holding…being close and affectionate instead of secret agents and undercover cops.

Plus some gropey PDA will keep most eyes following us glued to somewhere else or at least to someone, else. It really is a nice little trick.

“Next stop, Union Station in five minutes,” a voice announces over the train’s speakers.

Colin leans close and tucks some of my brown hair behind my ear. “Hear that? We’re almost there. With no problems at all. Look who was worried over nothing.”

“There’s always something to worry about.” I give my lips a quick glaze with my tongue before kissing him. The words “How are we getting from here to Virginia?” are whispered into his lips.

“Sharon agreed to pick us up,” Colin whispers back then plants his lips to mine to seal his words in secret.

We keep up the charade of making out—

That’s a lie. We kiss like there’s no tomorrow after this mission.

His tongue tangles with mine until the moment a passenger asks, “I hope you’re here to help take that North Carolina law all the way to the Supreme Court. Those bastards.”

While Colin turns to nod and agree with the man, I duck down and reach for the backpack I stowed under the seat in front of me. The voice sets a fire of recognition in my brain. A memory sparks from that fire:

Rumlow’s deep voice complains, “You almost blew the objective, Barnes!”

“That man remembers me when I don’t remember myself. I just wanted an answer!”

“That was not our mission!” He lifts his finger and points it into my face. Our eyes lock and he growls, “Our mission was to bring him in so we can take him out. Got it?”

I shove Rumlow backwards. He grabs a maroon car to steady himself before stumbling back into the bus. I stalk towards him, keeping him in my sights. “That man was my mission. My mission, Rumlow, assigned by Pierce himself. At last check, you are in my command. Do not hurt him until I can question him. Got it?”

Rumlow scrubs a hand through his dark hair. Bit of metal and dust fly free as he pushes  the button on his shoulder for the com. “Yes, sir?” He pauses, eyes glued to me. “Yes, Mr. Pierce. I’ll detain him for reset immediately.”

And before I could act, a blast comes from the gun he was holding. A neutralizing blast pushes into my rib cage and blowing the air from my lungs just before the world fades to black.

“Buck? Are you okay?” Colin’s hand rubs across my back, making small comforting loops as he goes. “Was it Rumlow?”

I nod and lift the backpack to my lap. I pull out a black ball cap, handing Colin his favorite Red Sox one. “He’s going to recognize us.”

Colin places the cap on his head and pulls the brim as low as I have mine—enough to shade the eyes. His hand slides over mine, pressing a key into my palm. “Here’s the key you left in my apartment. Don’t lose it this time.” He turns to face me, leaning close and whispering, “If anything happens and we need to separate, meet me back home.”

I clasp the key and nod.

“Now…” He interrupts himself by giving me a quick kiss. “…let’s go meet Sharon.”

#

When I meet Sharon Carter, I realize she is just like her Aunt Peggy, though her hair is dyed blonde. They are both tenacious and forthright. They’re both assertive and demanding to get their way. Both possess a strange lure to the men in my life. And while Sharon claims to be a nurse at a local hospital, her gaze is sharp and studious, coming at me from the rearview mirror. I swear she’ll peg me for that man who’s wanted by most government agencies—both US and Hydra—before we get to that retirement home in Arlington, Virginia.

Thankfully, Colin is in the front seat with her and using his irresistible charm. Before the thirty minute ride is over, he has her edges softened. She’s laughing and tapping him coyly with her hand and saying things like, “Oh, Colin…stop. You’re just saying that.”

Colin flashes a quick grin back to me and I roll my eyes as Sharon stops in the circular drive. She sets the car’s gear into park. She reaches for the ignition button, but Colin grabs her hand. He tosses a quick glance at me, serious and dire as though this situation is life or death.

“My partner should do the interview alone. I don’t want it to seem like we’re ganging up on Miss Carter. While he does that, I can interview you…as her niece…for an outsiders perspective on…what it’s like having a power World War ii heroine in the family.”

Colin winks at Sharon and somehow I’m getting the evil glare from her. Because I’m the interloper in this situation? I pick up the phone Colin gave me—something called a burner?—and get out of the car.

Sharon’s window hums as it slides lower and lower. She pokes her head out and tells me, “Just tell the front desk your name and that you’re with Harvard. I’ve already told them to expect you.” The window lifts, showing off the browning leaves on the tree behind an image of me. It stops and she quickly adds, “We’ll be back in a few hours to pick you up.”

The window closes and I watch as the nurse takes Colin away. I take a deep breath and walk towards the glass doors. I pass a concrete statue of a man in a suit, a walking crutch on his left arm. The doors slide open and a female voice says, “Welcome to the Daniel Sousa Memorial Home.”


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End Notes: Thank you for reading! The images are mine screen capped from Captain America:Winter Soldier.

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“Hey, 6B.” – chapter 14

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.

Genre: RomCom/Action

Chapter word count: 2,370

Characters: James Buchanan Barnes “Bucky”, Colin Shea, Dane, Ally Darling, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Natasha Romanov, Peggy Carter, Sharon Carter (though the last two are only in mention)

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: Almost there on finishing the typing…one chapter and an epilogue…because I feel it needed an epilogue.


14.

 

Peaceful nights. Calm days. Research on my past and my mission, The Man in Blue.

The past few weeks have been full of those moments. We’ve been on the case day and night. Researching the Man in Blue, though, has practically fallen by the way side as all of our leads have been stagnant. These days, we’re more concerned with the new neighbor in 2C and the man in 4D then anything else.

Though it’s not been a total loss. I’ve found this Zen in Colin that I’ve never had with anyone before—not that I can remember, anyway. Every day has been stress free, full of laughs and flirtatious moments. Even work has been reduced to fun times, horrible names, and…again, Colin.

A smile graces my morning expression as I wake up in his bed, seeing him sitting by the bed on the floor, covered in files and papers. He’s staring off into space, wearing this blissful catlike grin. I can’t help the sigh of content that leaves me as I watch him. Colin is contagious.

He shifts his gaze to me. “Morning, Buck…how about I fix you some breakfast in bed?”

Damn. He’s got this sly smile as his eyes are trained on my lips. Then he licks his lips like he’s about to devour me. And I would so let him.

Instead, I prop myself up on one elbow, leaning over him, and say, “I’d love it, but I have work.” I plant a kiss on him and slide out of bed, freezing the moment my feet hit the floor.

“Okay. What time are you off?”

“Noon today.” I grab my shirt from the end of the couch and slide it on, not bothering to button it. “But after that, I have a three-day weekend.”

Colin slides both hands behind his head and stares at me. “Any plans for those three days?”

“Yeah…some guy I know is taking me on a trip. It’s supposed to be for something we’re working on together, so all business.”

“I’m sure that guy can find some way to make sure you get some sort of pleasure out of your time away,” he teases.

I lift an eyebrow at him, trying to keep the stupid grin off of my face. “Is that what he really has planned? I feel like I’m the prey now. I’m not sure I should go away now.”

Colin snorts. “Too bad. I hear he was going to make it a time to remember.”

I’m positive he could.

I pad over to his side of the bed and lean down. “See you for coffee at ten,” I say and peck his lips. Then I walk across the room and up the steps, turning at the door. “Don’t be late.”

The content smile snakes its way across his face again as he nestles into the bed. Internally, I smile like a fool in love—which I just might be a fool in love—and shut the door behind me, turning the knob slowly so no noise emits. Then I sneak into my apartment and get ready for another day as a glorified coffee peddler.

#

“Grande white mocha, with foam no whip,” says the blonde as she digs through her purse. “And the name is Ally.”

I scribble “Alley” on the cup and hand it to Dane just as the woman pulls out her card to pay. She swipes it through and the five dollar purchase was declined. Her wide blue eyes meet mine and this innocent smile spreads across her face.

“Sorry. Let me find my other card.” Her hand dives back into the large blue bag and fishes around a few moments. “Ah hah!” she screams when she pulls out a twenty-dollar bill. “I’m between jobs,” she adds, handing me the bill. “Fingers crossed my old boss, Carol, didn’t badmouth me and I get a call back from Roger about that marketing job.”

I hand her the change and say, “Good luck.”

She utters a quick thanks and moves down the line. Just in time for Colin. Except no Colin. I check the time on the register screen. Ten o’clock. He’s late. I look through the windows at the pedestrians on the street. No sign or hint of the man who has quickly become the most important man in my life.

Love life.

No. Life.

While I don’t see my current mission, I see a current job that needs to be complete. “Dane, I’m going to collect the mugs from the tables outside.”

“Okay, Bucky. I have this covered.” Dane lifts the cup he just filled and says, “Grande white mocha for Alley?”

The blonde reaches over the counter and accepts her cup. Just as I step outside, I hear her complain, “My name is A-L-L-Y…not like an alley way.”

I smirk to myself and get busy stacking the cups and adjusting the umbrellas. Someone out of the corner of my eye catches my attention. The red-head whose name fluctuates more than the chasing lights on a theater marquee. She’s across the street, wearing a tight black body suit that hugs all of her curves like a second skin. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail and sways back and forth as her finger angrily jabs into the chest of a man in sunglasses, then furiously points in the direction of See You Latte.

I can’t hear over the traffic driving past on the four lane road between us, but my soldier training screams that she’s talking about me, specifically. My whole body tenses and readies to act in a moment. My fists clench around the ends of the towel in my hands and pull it tight to use as a weapon. I feel the compartment in my boot with my toe, knowing my knife is waiting there to be used.

The man looks in this direction—I swear our eyes meet briefly—before his jaw clenches. Then he says something back and points to a file in his hand. He’s in a tight black shirt and black pants…which wouldn’t be so odd, except his left sleeve has either been rolled up past the elbow, or it’s been left intentionally short and he’s sporting some sort of glove on his hand.

The man shakes his head and glances one more time. It’s as he turns to storm off that I notice he has a quiver of arrows strapped to his back.

The nameless woman turns at the time she yells and motions him away. She stops cold. Her stance is wide, arms tense as though she’s about to bolt forward and crash into me, taking both of us through the window behind me. And I’m ready for her…

But she doesn’t make a move. She stares at me, eyes narrowing in threat.

I return the glare. Though I know it’s virtually impossible from this distance, we are definitely in a pre-war stare down. Her jaw tenses, and yet she still doesn’t move. Not until a delivery truck passes on the road between us and she disappears from the street.

The surrounding buildings seem empty, the rooftops barren. The shadows touching the ground and climbing the walls tell me she’s no long here.

I’ve been compromised. Colin may have been compromised. That’s why he isn’t here mooching his free coffee and pastry.

I tuck the towel into my back pocket and collect the stacks of cups, balancing them in my hands as I carry them inside. Dane takes one stack from me when I step behind the counter. We both carry them to the dishwasher in the back. The towel goes from my pocket to the counter. I remove my apron and take my name tag from it before handing it to Dane.

“Sorry, but I have to quit.” Before there is another incident like that flipped bus on the side streets of DC. Except this time, Colin is in the mix.

Dane checks his watch. “It’s not even ten thirty.”

“I know, but this is a more permanent sort of quit. Minus the two weeks’ notice. I…” I shrug, willing a valid excuse to surface in my brain. “I found out this morning that my…father is dying. I need to go back home and care for him.”

“Bucky, you don’t have to quit,” Dane says, his head shaking in sadness. “I could let you take some time…”

“Thanks, but they aren’t sure how much longer he has. Could be a week, could be a month. I just know I want to be there for him.”

“Your father?”

I nod and say the first name—outside of Colin—that pops into my mind. “Steve.” The name accompanies a twinge of guilt in my gut and a breath of relief for pulling off a lie.

“The Stark three-oh-two will be happy. You made crappy coffee anyway,” he laughs, staring at the green apron in his hands. “I can’t promise to save your job, but if you come back to Boston and need a place to work, don’t hesitate.”

“Thanks, Dane.” I can’t even bear to stare into those sad brown eyes. “I’ll…see you latte.”

Dane laughs again, tossing the apron on the counter. He goes out front and I sneak out of the back into the alley. My surroundings get a quick check and I jog down to where alley meets alley, taking a long yet very guarded route back home.

The path I take is fairly lifeless. A few store owners readying for deliveries, but nothing dangerous or out of the ordinary. It leads me to the corner of my street, where I have to step into sunshine. I wait until a small crowd has accumulated on the corner before taking my hair out of the holder and blending in with laborers and business persons alike. The light changes to a walking stick-man and I cross in the group. I catch a hint of the man from earlier crossing in the opposite direction…from the exact direction of my apartment.

Shit.

When I step on the curb, I glance back, making sure he didn’t notice me. Once he’s gone and I’m in the clear, I bolt for my building. Thud-thud-thud…I barely touch the steps of my building with my feet, and yet it sounds like a million soldiers running up them I barrel into the man from 4D just inside the door to the building.

He says, “Watch the fuck out!”

“I’m not the one kissing my dog on the lips in the doorway,” I say without stopping.

More noise as though soldiers are running up the stairs, though I’m the only one in the stairwell. By the time I’m on six, I’m breathless. My heart pounds in my ears and my pulse rages. I lift my fist and knock on the door of 6A. No answer.

“Colin?” I ask the A on the door. “Are you in there?”

Still no answer. I make a fist and pound into the door.

“Come on, Colin! Open up!”

Nothing.

Fear eats every last nerve I have. I unlock my door and go over to the side table next to my bed. The key for Colin’s apartment isn’t there. Papers from the files Colin has amassed lift in this hide-and-seek but with every leaf out of the way, I’m still keyless. I fall to my hands and knees and look under my bed. Dust bunnies and my brown boots. Under the table is too dark, so I slide my hand in the three-inch tall space. I shift my fingers around in the dust, sliding my hand back and forth, but no key.

“I like the way you present yourself, Buck.”

I sit upright on my knees and toss a glance at the man over my shoulder. Yep, it’s definitely Colin. Leaning on my door jamb. Wearing blue camouflage boxer-briefs. And nothing else. I don’t know if I should love that flirtatious entendre or if I should scream at him for scaring the ever-loving hell out of me.

“Why didn’t you answer me?” I ask getting to my feet. I take a few long strides, going up the stairs and wrap my arms around him. The hug is desperate, needy, and oh so thankful.  “And why didn’t you come for your coffee?”

One of Colin’s arms goes around my shoulders, the other going around me. His hand slides down my back and rests on my butt. He squeezes it and exhales with a soft groan.

I push him back and growl, “That doesn’t make up for giving me a heart attack this morning. Do you understand the danger you’re in just by associating with me?”

Colin’s smirk eats up the left side of his face. “You’re going to want to take it back once I tell you my news.” He pushes me into my apartment, shutting the door once we’re all the way inside. I take the four steps down backwards, his hand still on my chest as he follows going forward.

“What’s the news?” I ask, taking his wrist in my metal hand.

His playful blue eyes tag one of my eyes then the other. He licks his top lip and says, “I found her.”

“Her who? Peggy?”

Colin nods. “Peggy Carter. I’ve been on the phone all morning with her niece, Sharon. Thanks to my wits and charm, she has agreed to allow us visitation with her aunt…on the grounds that we don’t upset her…that and I said we’re James and Collins from Harvard doing a research paper on World War II and the women who made a stand for our country.”

His hands go out from his sides. I can’t tell if he’s asking for a hug or if he’s announcing a big finish as though he’s a grand magician.

Doesn’t matter. I hug him close and utter “thank you” into his neck before placing a kiss there. Though I can’t say for sure the thank you was for Colin’s job well done or if it’s just me thanking someone out there for his safety.

We’re another step closer to finding the Man in Blue.

Steve.

At this point, though, I’m not sure I want to find him.


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End Notes: Thank you for reading!

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