My Writtings

Page 2 of 24

Just … hold on

They were just minutes from landing the Quinjet; knowing there was a big possibility Hydra was prepared for them was an unsettling feeling. If Bucky was right and everything was a trap to lure him in, he would be the person with the best chances to get Steve back.


“I think you should have this.” Clint told Bucky gravely as he offered Steve´s shield to him. Natasha had retrieve it before the enemy base collapsed.


Bucky refused quickly holding up his hands in denial while nodding his head negatively. “No, I can´t.” It represented everything Steve was; and he now wasn´t.


Clint pushed it into his chest sternly. “Yes you can and you will! “ Looking at Bucky´s bewildered expression he added. “I know you know how to use it. Besides … Steve might need it.”


Bucky sighed defeated as he nodded in agreement; he was right. “all right. But I´m just holding it for Steve.”


“For Steve.” Clint agreed gravely; none of them had ever thought his absence would weight so heavily on their hearts.


“Are you sure we can´t get Thor or Banner back?” Tony asked Loki one more time.


Loki grunted annoyed. “I´ve told you already that the answer is no. It´s not like I just can give him a call. And even if I could somehow reach him the odds are that he´ll have his own problems to handle. He wouldn´t have taken Bruce with him otherwise.” He reminded him sternly.


“So … it´s just us then.” Tony scowl worryingly. What if Hydra had a trap designed specifically for every one of them?


“What do you mean it´s just us?” Loki eyed him more than annoyed by his comment. Like if they weren´t going to be enough.


“No … sorry. I didn´t mean it that way. It´s just … I wish they were here with us. You know, for …” It didn´t mattered he had been so angry at him only a couple of days before; he was too worried now to care about that. “Are you really going to make me say it?” He whined discomforted.


“It wouldn´t hurt you to say it.” Loki reprimanded him angrily. Tony´s frown grew even bigger. Loki sighed in disbelief. “He won´t give in that easy.”


“Are you talking about Steve or Bucky?” Tony asked curiously.


“Probably both.” Loki acknowledged; he might not like Bucky but it seemed he did care deeply about Steve. “Now stop looking so gloomy.” He ordered him firmly. “We have work to do.”


“Ready guys?” Clint spoke up as they maneuvered to land in a snowy plain field between some trees. “Let´s just stick to the plan. Whatever happens one of us must get to Steve, all right?”


Everyone agreed. “Yes.”


“Now let’s go get our boy back!” He ended while getting an arrow out of his quill.


Fight broke out the second they step out of the Quinjet just as they had expected. As they got deeper into the base one by one they were separated until only Bucky remained. They wanted him alone; that much became obvious when he walked undisturbed through several levels. Still there was no sign of Steve anywhere. Suddenly he walked into what it seemed an underground harbor under the poor lighting. No one in sights as in the levels before.


Taking him by surprise all the lights turned on. “I´ve been expecting you … soldier.” Shuralov welcomed him from behind a control panel.


“Where´s Steve?” Bucky yelled angrily while pointing his gun at him. They better have not killed him …


“Captain Rogers?” Shuralov asked feigning surprise before changing his tone. “so rude of me … I almost forgot.” With a maniacal grin on his face he pulled up a lever.


A metallic sound called Bucky´s attention; placed at the middle of the harbor there was a chain in the water that now was being pulled out swiftly by the pulley mechanism. His heart skipped a beat when a couple of shackled hands emerged. His eyes widened in horror as he recognized Steve´s battered body. As soon as his head was above the water Steve began coughing harshly; some of the water had found its way into his lungs. Bucky paled with rage wondering how long had he been submerged before he arrived.  The chain kept pulling him up until he was about 50 feet above the water. His chest and feet were bare; his trousers were the only clothing item they had left him. Bucky clenched his jaw vexed at the spectacle feeling his blood boil as Steve raised his head; he had a split lip, a black eye that was beginning to fade and a large purple bruise on one of his cheeks.


“Bucky” He spat in a sigh; forcing a weak smile. They had come for him … during the last past hours he had begun to fear they wouldn´t get to him on time.


Bucky heart sank at his state. “I told you I would find you.” He said loud enough for Steve to hear. Just hang in there Steve … I’m here for you. Turning to Shuralov he ordered menacingly. “Let him go!”


“I don´t think so.” Shuralov volunteered smiling with an air of self-satisfaction.


“I don´t think you understood me.” Bucky yelled enraged while aiming his riffle at him. “I said let him go.”


“No.” Was Shuralov´s calm answer looking straight at Bucky in defiance. Next he flicked a switch in the console. Immediately an electrical current ran through the chain towards Steve who screamed in pain when the discharge reached him.


Bucky took his shot against Shuralov; nothing happened. He shot again sure he had hit the mark the first time. Shuralov laughed before he pressed another button turning some extra-lights on just before flicking the switch off. The whole panel was encased in a bullet proof glass; Bucky´s shoots haven´t even dent it.


Bucky frowned upset lowering his gun as he alternated his gaze between Steve who shivered hiding his face from him after the electric shock and Shuralov who smiled pleased.


“Now that I´ve made myself clear. Give up or I´ll …” He flicked the switch on again zapping Steve again.


Bucky snarled at him irked for an instant before turning his eyes anguished to Steve who writhed in pain. “Wait!” He yelled distressed; down casting his gaze he added. “Let him go … and … I´ll surrender myself to you.” He couldn´t bare Steve suffering like that anymore.


“Bucky no!” Steve yelled alarmed through tears of pain.” Don´t do it! I ….” He contorted under a new wave of electricity.


“Be quiet.” Shuralov harshly scolded him taking his time to flick the switch off. “We are talking.”


Steve trembled strongly in a superhuman effort to quiet his sobs. If Bucky saw him that broken … he fell at the end of his strength.


“Surrender yourself … and I´ll let him go.” Shuralov offered in response without any intention of holding up to that promise.


Bucky frowned as he kept eyeing both Steve and Shuralov. “How do I know you´ll keep your word?” He asked sternly, he wasn´t sure how much Steve could withstand. He had to think of something …


“You don´t.” Shuralov acknowledge wryly. “You can either give up or …” He pulled the lever down dropping Steve a couple of feet’s before stopping his fall harshly; extracting a painful grunt from Steve in the process. “I could just immerse your friend while I flick the switch. I´m curious; what do you think will give out first? His heart or his lungs?” He said arrogantly thinking he had already won.


Bucky knew there wasn´t a chance that he would deliver on his word. He turned sideways slightly trying to position himself in the right angle and at the same time keeping his movements hidden from him long as he could. Reaching for Steve´s shield with his left arm he threw it as swiftly as he could against the chain snapping it in half dropping Steve into the water with a loud splash. “How about you die instead?” Within a second he started firing against the bullet proof glass relentlessly knowing it would only take some time to pierce through it. He looked askance at the water surface; there was no sign of Steve. He grunted upset firing one more time at the glass; just small cracks had appeared … he didn´t had the time for that. Without any further delay he plunged into the water after Steve. He found him a couple of meters from the surface struggling to untangle himself from the heavy chain that dragged him down. Swiftly he reached him; their eyes meeting for a few seconds; Steve´s face filled up with relief at his presence warming Bucky´s heart. He tried for a moment to free his hands from the shackles in vain; it was useless they probably had been made for him. Knowing Steve´s air supply wouldn´t last too long he untangled the heavy chain from the shackles and pointed Steve up. Steve nodded in agreement as he laboriously started to make his way to the surface.


Shuralov had hidden behind the panel when the first crack appeared on the glass. When Bucky stopped firing he rose up catching a glimpse of him diving into the harbor. Furiously he growled. “This isn´t over … soldier.” Resentfully he pushed a red button. The whole base blinked with red lights; he had activated the self-destruction. Laughing manically while the first explosion caved the ceiling above him unexpectedly. Blood splattered everywhere when a heavy block squashed him. More heavy blocks fell into the water.


When Steve rose up from the water big rubble chunks kept falling all around him. He twirled around looking. “Bucky! Bucky!” He yelled desperate; there was no sign of him anywhere. He huffed distraught; next he took a deep breath and submerged looking for him; nothing. “Bucky! Bucky!” He kept calling for him in despair. Forsaking the fact that the whole place seemed to be falling over his head he dived again. This time he went deeper despite his shackled hands. Through murky waters he finally found him; a beam had fallen over him pinning Bucky against the bottom. He tried lifting it up unsuccessfully; looking worryingly at Bucky´s unconscious face he frowned deeply before rising up again. Once in the surface he inspired repeatedly trying to get as much air as possible into his lungs before diving back. Struggling he held Bucky´s face between his shackled hands. “Please …” He begged as he closed his eyes and proceeded to blow all the air in his lungs into his mouth. “Don´t leave me … not again …” He prayed with all his heart.


Maybe it was the air being blown into his lungs; maybe it was the soft touch of Steve’s´ lips on his own, but whatever the reason Bucky suddenly came to. He squinted surprised when he found Steve blowing his own air into him with his eyes closed; frowning in deep anguish at his current predicament. Knowing there might not be another chance Bucky held Steve’s’ temples gently and kissed him. If he was going to die he wanted to steal that one moment; he poured his entire soul into that one kiss trying to convey all the love he felt for him. Steve opened his eyes startled. Bucky … his Bucky was … kissing him? His heart pounded hard in his chest overjoyed … if only he wasn´t trapped under the beam. He knew it could very well be their last moment together; he would never abandon him. Closing his eyes again he kissed him back heart fully letting himself fade into their kiss, wishing it could last forever.


Suddenly he could feel some movement in the water as well as a low hum growing. Instinctively he opened the eyes to find Tony in his Iron-Man suit looking at them with his arms crossed. Tony was grinning widely inside his helmet. “Just look at you two.” He thought to himself. “The whole place is falling down and you are canoodling.”


Steve tapped Bucky´s shoulder hurriedly before breaking their kiss. He pointed the heavy beam to Tony, next he pointed to Bucky and lastly to the surface.


Yes, I know. Your boyfriend is pinned down under it.” Tony thought still amused. He nodded affirmatively as he joined Steve in his effort to release Bucky from under the rubble. Between both they raised the beam out of the way not without some effort; Bucky winced slightly when they finally did free him. Noticing Steve signaled quickly to Tony. “Take him up.” Tony swiftly nodded in agreement as he fired his propellers lifting Bucky to the surface in a matter of seconds.


Unknown to Tony and Bucky was the fact that Steve had given Bucky all of his air leaving none for himself. After all he had thought he could hold his breath for a very long time; and it would´ve been the truth … if he had been in optimal conditions. Delayed by the weight of the shackles and his worn out body his slow ascent was interrupted by the undeniable instinct to breathe. Betrayed by his need for air, cold water filled his lungs instantly. His eyes widened panicked for an instant as he choked; then … nothing. “He´s safe.” His last conscious thought as he surrendered himself into the darkness.

Tony flew Bucky up to a ledged that oversee the harbor formed by rubble that had fallen from the upper levels where Loki waited for them anxiously. He coughed harshly as he spat some water that had found its way in. “Steve.” He asked hastily between coughs.


“Don´t worry he …” Tony turned around expecting to see Steve on the surface waiting for him to lift him up. “Damn!” He coursed out loud plunging back immediately. It didn´t took him long to find Steve´s lifeless body slowly drifting with the current on his way to the bottom of the harbor. “God, no …!” He exclaimed distraught muffling a sob. Gently but quickly he cradled Steve’s body within his arms. He looked at him through tearful eyes; he looked like a sleeping angel, a peaceful smile in his face despite his injured features that were softly stroked by his golden hair floating disarranged with the current.


“Tony! What´s wrong?” Loki asked alarmed over the comlink after hearing him. He feared the answer his mind was giving him.


“Take Bucky outside …” Tony ordered gravely straining his voice not to break. “I’m taking Steve to the surface with the others … Loki … hurry!”


His tone confirmed Loki´s fears; he paled at the thought.


“What happened?” Bucky yelled equally alarmed. Something was wrong …


“I … don´t know.” Loki lied to him. “He’s´ taking Steve straight to the Quinjet. We´ll need to run.” Loki told him anxiously, he didn´t had enough energy to teleport; not after the harsh battle they had been in.


Bucky raised up hastily; without any further word between themselves, they both started running to the exit through the rubble that kept falling in some points of the structure. Their hearts beating fast not only because of the effort but also by the fear of not getting to Steve on time.


“Clint!” Tony called out anguished while swiftly making his way through falling rubble. “It´s Steve … he needs help!”


“What happened?” Clint inquired worryingly. He only recalled hearing Tony that alarmed before … when Doom took Loki away.


“He … drowned … “He could feel the weight the words as he uttered them; making everything real. “I … the whole place is falling down … God!” He struggled to find the right words unbalanced by the loss of his friend.


“Tony calm down!” Clint ordered sternly. “How long was he down?” He demanded strongly. I´m not going to lose him.


“I … I´m not sure … a minute, maybe two … I don´t know.” He volunteered distraught. Not Steve, not like this …


“We haven´t lost him yet, you hear me Tony?” He yelled trying to snap Tony out of his grief. “We haven´t lost him yet! Bring him in as fast as you can. You hear me? Fly him straight to us. “


It took Tony a moment to pull himself together; breaking the silence he answered. “Copy that.”


Clint and Natasha looked at each other relieved of hearing Tony more calm. In less than a minute they could hear the sound of Tony´s repulsors and quickly scanned the skies for him.

As soon as he landed they ran towards him. Their eyes widened for a second harrowed; Steve´s lips had a blueish tone, partly because of the lack of oxygen partly due to the ice cold water he had been plunged in.


“Oh God!” Clint exclaimed distraught as he meant to take Steve from Tony´s armored arms. Steve was stone-cold and soaking wet nothing on him except for his trousers. Without thinking it twice he removed his jacket and wrapped Steve with it as he lifted him with great effort and took him inside the Quinjet. Lying Steve in the floor of the craft he told Natasha hurryingly. “I´ll do the compressions, you breathe for him.” Natasha agreed with a nod as she started to count the compressions. Thirty chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths; they had to stick to that rythm. Clint pushed with all his strenght, suddenly he looked up for Tony. “We need to raise his temperature … bring the emergency blankets and … I don´t know; does this thing have a heating setting or something?”


“If it doesn´t it will have in a minute.” Tony volunteered removing the rest of his armour as fast as he could.


Loki and Bucky arrived as Natasha leaned to listen for normal breath sounds, checking for Steve´s breath on her cheek and ear. “Nothing.” She volunteered anxiously.


“Don´t do this to us Steve …” Clint scolded him distraught while continuing with the compressions. Natasha kept giving him two breaths every 30 compressions expectantly.


Tony placed his hand over his mouth nervously. He had done everything Clint had asked of him; having nothing else to do made him feel useless. Loki knew exactly how he felt; healing spells didn´t covered deaths by drowning either. He walked up to Tony slowly and looked into his eyes sorrowful. Tony took his eyes from Steve when he felt his gaze on him; their emotions mirrored in each other´s teary eyes. They held each other hands with a tight grip desperately trying to give each other the slightest measurement of comfort, soon their eyes were brought back to the scene playing in front of them.


Bucky was on his knees beside Steve; hoping against all odds for a miracle. Thick tears travelled from his eyes soaking the floor beneath him s time passed. Fearfully he reached for Steve´s motionless hand and very sweetly hold it in his. He broke down heartbroken leaning down enough to hold Steve’s hand to his face; he kissed it softly sniffling … he was so cold, so cold.  With great effort he quiets his own sobs; he needed to say it even if it was too late. “I … I kept my promise Stevie … remember? I told you … that I would find you … no matter what.” He had to stop as he sniffled letting out a heart broken sigh. It wasn´t fair … he had lost him … he had just got him back and now he had lost him … again. Bawling he reproached him. “You just had … to … hold on.” He couldn´t continue; it hurt too much. Almost at the same time a choking sound came from Steve´s throat followed by harsh coughing that threw some water out of his lungs.


Swiftly Clint and Natasha turned him sideways allowing the rest of the water to come out. When he finished coughing they laid him down again. All of them were crying tears of joys without exception; feeling fortunate to have him back with them.


Steve looked at them questioningly through tired eyes and gingerly asked in a coarse voice. “Who died?”


“You did! You stupid punk!” Bucky told him while leaning down to embrace him; scooping him up between his arms tightly as he kept crying overwhelmed.


“No … I didn´t … jerk.” Steve jokingly answered relieved everything had ended. He was on Bucky´s arms; the only place he had always felt safe. He sighed satisfied just as he had done so many times before when they were kids. “Bucky … you are squeezing me too tight.” He complained wincing under Bucky´s tight embrace.


“Tough luck.” Bucky repplied strong headed as he loosen his embrace to look Steve straight to his eyes. “Because I´m never letting you go. You hear me? Never again!” Next he kissed him passionately, surprising a wide-eyed Steve that melted within a second in his arms.

In Enemy Hands

Warning: Steve´s been tortured by Hydra while Bucky looks for him relentlessly.

A sudden splash of ice-cold water awoke him abruptly. He gasped startled and found himself hanging from a chain; his arms bounded over his head; the chain was stringed so tight he had to stand on tip toes. His shoes and shirt were missing; the only clothing item they had left were his trousers.


He pulled forcibly from the chain in an attempt to break it or at least loosen it but his efforts were in vain. Behind him he could heard someone snort at his feeble attempt.


“Don´t waste your time. Those chains were designed to keep your friend Barnes in place while we reeducated him; you won´t be able to break them.” A tall thin man emerged from the darkness; his name was Nicholas Shuralov. He was the base chief and also one of Hydra´s Russian specialists in Dr. Faustus methods. He was a cold hearted man descendant of former aristocrats; for him brainwashing was a form of art and nothing pleased him more than practicing it. “You know Captain Rogers; Steve … can I call you Steve? I think it´s more personal that way and soon we are going to be very well acquainted with each other.” He grinned in anticipation of what he had planned to do to him.


“What do you want from me?” Steve asked sternly turning his head to face the man.


“Only to show you the truth.” Shuralov offered with a smile. “You´ve been fighting for how long? Since War World II? Do you really think you´ve made the world a better place? Every day in the news there´s a new conflict; a new war. Don´t you think it´s time to consider you´ve been fighting in the wrong side. Hydra wants peace, is it not what you want too?”


Steve listened while scowling, it was clear what they wanted from him.  “That´s a lie.” He spat angrily.


Shuvalov signed feigning disappointment. “I see. You are not ready for embracing the truth just yet …. but, you will be.” He ended in a menacing tone which made Steve´s heart race in apprehension. Turning to leave he volunteered candidly. “Don´t forget Steve, you are bringing this upon yourself; and you can end it at any time. You just have to … accept you are wrong.” Turning back with a nod he gave the order while he said out loud. “He´s all yours.”


The metallic creak of the chain being pulled up concealed the muffled painful moan that escaped Steve´s lips when he was hoisted above the ground. He was still struggling to overcome the pain the new position caused him when a swishing sound announced the first stroke.


Shuralov smirked with self-satisfaction as he closed the door of the cell hearing Steve groan in pain. They hadn´t expected to find Captain America when the container reached the base; but for him it had been a pleasant surprise. The ultimate challenge …


“Sir, we have a new report from the field. They searched everywhere but they couldn´t find the book.” A middle aged officer reported grimly.


Shuralov grunted displeased; the codes for activating the Winter Soldier were gone. The only ones that had knew them had perished. “It´s a shame comrade Alexandrov. Nevertheless, it will only delay our plans. “Unexpectedly that also gave him another opportunity to … practice his art and this time he would make sure to do it right. “We programmed him once, we can always do it again.”


“Certainly Sir.” Alexandrov agreed relieved, he stood still waiting for be dismissed.


“I have an assignment for you.” Shuralov volunteered suddenly. “According to our reports the Soldier is currently looking for the Captain. I want you to leak our position to him.”


“Sir?” Alexandrov questioned in disbelief. After the destruction of Karavayev´s base? He wanted to lead him to them?


“There´s no need to chase our asset back; not when we can just lure him back to us.” Shuralov acknowledged dryly. “We have the perfect bait. We´ll use the Captain to convince him to cooperate.”


“And if he doesn´t?” Alexandrov questioned with curiosity.


“It would be a shame but … the soldier is our priority. “ Shuralov admitted dryly; he had waited for a long time for the sort of challenge Steve represented, but he wasn´t the prize they were after. “You can leave now.”


“Understood Sir. I´ll see that it´s done.” Alexandrov saluted him as he left.


Steve was still shuddering in pain, drenched completely in sweat after the torture when the chain was swiftly loosened dropping him to the ground. Curling upon himself he nursed his aching arms against his chest; but the comfort of his new position didn´t lasted long as two pair of hands forcibly pulled him up. His wrists were still bound by the shackles which were bound together by a medium length chain; one of the men untangled it from the longer chain they had used to pull him up.  He felt too exhausted to resist them and just allowed himself to be dragged around. His wrists already marked by angry red lines caused by the stress of supporting his entire weight. Blood stains tainted his only clothing; they hadn´t held back at all. All through his ordeal theh only thing that had kept him from begging for them to stop was his team mates; no … his friends and Bucky. He couldn´t allow them to break him. He kept seeing the same image in his mind over and over again. Bucky stabbing him; but now he pictured himself in his place. If they managed to break him they would inevitably turn him against his friends; he couldn´t allow it. He´d rather die than allow them to break him. If more pain was inexorably linked to his resolution, he had no other choice but to endure it.


As a rag doll he was shoved into the metallic seat of a strange looking machine; snapping out of his thoughts he tried to resist being strapped down to it unsuccessfully as four men pinned him down bonding both his arms and legs to the seat. They didn´t even bothered taking the shackles off.


“You can´t resist us.” Shuralov told him sternly. “I thought you would´ve understood it by now Steve. Although … we might be able to do something about that.”


“I´ll never cooperate.” Steve spat stubbornly while attempting to loosen the bonds that held his arms in place.


“We’ll just have to see about that.” Shuralov admitted wryly as he picked up a rubber mouthpiece from a table behind him and approached Steve with it in his hand.


“My friends …. they will come for me.” Steve warned him while trying really hard to hide how scared he really felt. As Shruralov moved closer he turned his head away trying frantically to loosen the bonds that held his right hand in place. His heart pounding hard on his chest; there was no way out.


“I´m counting on that …Steve.” Shuralov informed him with an evil grin. “Now; open up. We wouldn’t want you to bite your tongue off, wouldn´t we?” He grabbed his chin strongly attempting to turn his head back to him. Steve struggled against him keeping his mouth clenched shut. He knew his resistance was futile; he was helpless but that didn´t meant he was going to make it easy for them.


“Have it your way.” Shuralov suddenly spat annoyed by his resistance. Making a gesture he moved away as another one if his men splashed Steve with ice cold water again. He gasped startled for a second before closing his mouth with determination, breathing hard as he shivered. “As a matter of fact … Steve.” Shuralov volunteered while he leaned over him. “I was hoping you would resist.”  He told him leaning close enough for Steve to smell his fowl breath.  Out of nowhere he pulled a small taser gun which he shoved into Steve´s unprotected side. He screamed in pain as the electricity jolted his body. Shuralov smiled devilishly before shoving the rubber mouthpiece into Steve’s´ mouth as he withdrew the taser gun to avoid being shocked himself. Without delay two pair of hands held the mouthpiece in place while they secured it with a gag.


Steve was panting hard; while clenching up his fists in anger he looked at him defiantly.


“Let´s see if you can hold on that attitude after you´ve been here for a couple of days.” Without any further warning he made another sign to someone behind them. The machine lit up. A strange sort of panels closed into his head; he struggled to get away from it watching the electrical discharges it produced. Instinctively he closed his eyes waiting for the unavoidable. His painful cries were muffled by the mouthpiece. He cried in despair; this time no one had his back. This time he was really alone.

Shuralov smirked; feeling the adrenaline coursing through his body. He made another sign and the machine was turned off. “I´m afraid we can´t allow you to close your eyes while we reeducate you… Steve.” Steve’s´ breath hitched, what else would they do to him? At this words another device was strapped to his head forcibly preventing him from closing his eyes.


The “re-education” technique was rather simple in its nature; random scenes were projected on the screen in front of Steve; and every time an image related to his own set of believes was projected he was zapped by the machine. Shuralov stood by his side for a couple of minutes until he grew bored and walked away just as Steve got zapped again. He laughed without even bothering to turn back pleased with himself leaving Steve to his ill-fate.


It had been almost 36 hours since Hydra had abducted Steve and Bucky kept growing restless by the minute. He coursed the fact that it had taken them longer than he had anticipated, but at last they had secured the location of a base where Steve was allegedly being held.


“Barnes …” Natasha told him somberly. “That was almost … too easy.”


“I know.” Bucky agreed with a grunt. “They lead us to him.” Their last lead hadn´t given the information easily, but he hadn´t put up much resistance either.


“So you know we are walking into a trap, right?” Clint interjected interested.


“Yes.” Bucky acknowledge dryly. Did it even matter at all?


“And why on God´s name are we doing that?” Tony asked bemused.


“Because Steve will be there.” Bucky told him angrily. “You can´t set up a trap without a bait.” It didn´t mattered … he had promised him.


“It makes sense.” Loki agreed making Tony raise his eyebrows surprised; he and Bucky weren´t exactly getting along. Loki sighed disgruntled eeying Tony´s reaction. “I hate to admit it but he´s right. That´s exactly what I would´ve done … if I was working for Hydra.”


Bucky clenched his jaw irked at the mention of Hydra. They were still an hour away from the location of the enemy’s base. He felt restless; he just couldn´t stop picturing Steve being subjected to the same type of tortures he had experienced over the years.


Everyone went quiet; it wasn´t hard at all to read what was going through Bucky´s mind. Silently one by one drifted into their own thoughts as they played their darkest fears on a helpless Steve on their minds. Tony shuddered remembering his time in Afghanistan and suddenly broke the silence.


“So … Buck. Has Steve always been the walking self-hazard we all have learn to love?” Anything to keep the memories off his head …


Bucky couldn´t help to smirk at his question. “Yes.” He admitted fondly. “Even before the serum.”


“You got to be kidding me. That skinny guy that appears on his army profile? How much trouble he could get in? He looked as if a strong wind could blow him away.” Tony volunteered jokingly.


“That´s how we met.” Bucky confessed. “An even sickly looking ten-year-old kid with a split lip lying on the floor after standing up against some bullies that had tried to take his lunch money.” He looked at the distance lost in his own memories. “I´ve never felt the need to protect someone else that fiercely.” He frowned for a moment; still angered with the bullies that had hurted Steve back then. “Those eyes .. those baby blue eyes …” He sighed deeply while smiling fondly at his recollections. “All I wanted in that very instant was to hold that kid tight until nothing and nobody could hurt him ever again.”


Everyone looked at him warmly; even if they hadn’t been together long they had all noticed that every time Bucky talked about Steve something changed inside of him. It was as if all the love he felt for Steve shined through on those instants.


“And then I stabbed him.” He closed down again; grieved by the memory. It was as if a light had just been turned off.


“What made you remember him?” This time it was Loki who had spoken up for everyone´s surprise. He stared at him sternly while he waited for his answer in earnest.


Bucky down casted his gaze as a slight blush appeared on his cheeks; he smirked. “His eyes” He admitted with a silly grin on his face which soon disappeared as he continued. “At first I didn´t understood what was wrong. I just felt like … like I had lost something; but I didn´t knew what it was. I still don´t know why I didn´t returned to the base right then.” He sighed frustrated. “I … I just kept seeing the look on his face when I stabbed him the second time … that grief … and then it just came back. I knew those eyes. I´ve seen them that pained before … after his mother´s funeral.” He frowned. “I asked him to come and live with me … but, he refused. He said he could manage on his own. I told him he didn´t had to. I´m with you until the end of the line; that´s what I told him.” Swiftly he dried a fugitive tear that had escaped his eyes; he sniffed quickly upset. “I just hope he can forgive me.”


“Don´t be silly Buck.” Tony volunteered quickly. “He already did.” At that point he wondered how it was possible that Steve had been so blind back then to the obvious feelings Bucky had for him.


“You really think so?” Bucky asked almost afraid to hope.


Tony smiled nodding his head in disbelief. What a pair. “Of course I do. The man dragged himself out of the hospital the second he awoke because he just had to find you.” Looking straight at Loki he gave him a look that clearly spelled. “Can I fucking tell him?”


“No!” Was the unsaid response Loki gave him though a deep annoyed frown.


Tony snorted lightly, annoyed before adding. “He save you down there … from the trap I mean. I think that clearly means he has forgiven you.”


Bucky meditated on his words for a moment; then smiled at himself. Tony was right; he had already forgiven him. As he always did.


Meanwhile in the Hydra base one of Shuvalov´s minions roughly grabbed an unconscious Steve by this hair while checking him for any reactions. He had finally passed out during their last beating, worn out as much as from their tortures as from the sleep deprivation and the hunger.


“He´s out.” The brawny looking man told Shuralov´s.


“I can see that.” Shuvalov acknowledged angrily. They may have broken his physical resistance but they were not even close to actually breaking his mind.


Alexandrov walked in a hurry and swiftly saluted Shuralov´s before telling him. “Sir, our field agents reported that the soldier has procured the information about our location; and he´s currently on his way here.


“Good.” Shuralov answered with an evil smug on his face. “You know what to do.” He told to the bulky man eyeing him sternly. “Make sure that our Captain is properly prepared for the main event.”


When things can go wrong …

As Natasha, Loki and the rest of their team moved to find another way into the part of the compound Steve was trapped in they kept encountering dead bodies and fight signs everywhere they went.


“Do you think that…?” Natasha inquired pensively as she walked over another bloody body.


“It´s possible that Barnes is remembering?” Loki ended her thought; he had been considering the possibility himself.


“Yes.” Natasha agreed sternly. “There are cleaner ways to kill. He seems to be eliminating everyone he meets with extreme prejudice. This kind of killing … it takes rage. ”


“We can´t be sure of that; after all the meddling Hydra has done with his mind he could´ve just lost it. Either way I would rather get to Steve before he runs into Barnes again.” Loki acknowledged dryly; worryingly.


“I would too.” Natasha admitted sharply. “Don´t you think we should tell Steve?”


“No.” Loki answered firmly nodding his head negatively. “We can´t be sure of anything right now. In his state, bringing his hopes up… it might just end up getting him killed.” He ended grimly. Steve was an emotional wreck even if he refused to let it show. Why add to it?


“Look, stairs!” Natasha motioned everyone to follow her hurryingly.


“Sir, the soldier is eliminating all of our defenses.” The younger man reported unsettled.


“Is the trap set yet?” His commander officer inquired without showing concern at his news.


“Yes Sir, but …” The soldier tried to say something else but was harshly cut off by his superior.


“Tell the pilot to be ready for my sign.”  Karavayev severely commanded him. “And make sure the helicopter path is kept clear, soldier. Retrieving the asset is more important than this base or ourselves.”


“Understood Sir.” The soldier answered with compliance immediately as he saluted.


Meanwhile Steve hadn´t found much resistance on his way; only a few straggler soldiers that had somehow escaped Bucky´s wrath crossed his path. He observed quietly the lifeless bodies in his path uncomfortable. Maybe Natasha was right; the man he knew, he wouldn´t … or would he? And after all that Hydra had done to him, shouldn´t that …? He tried to shook the thought off; he hadn´t tried to justify anything like that since the war … maybe the problem was that the war never ended for people like them. The sound of gunshots at the distance snapped him out of his thoughts calling his attention. Immediately he approached to investigate stealthily suddenly emerging into a large high ceiling dome. It looked like the main headquarters of the base.


Bucky was shooting angrily against Novikov and Karavayev who ducked behind a control panel holding their position; waiting.


“Bucky!” Steve called out distracting Bucky, but not before managing to shoot Karavayev´s shoulder.


“No.” Bucky´s eyes widened as if he had seen a ghost. “I killed you!” He spat even more enraged. How dare they tried to steal that memory from him? “What kind of trick is this?” He demanded choleric getting all his attention back to the wounded commander.


Steve’s heart sank; Bucky finally remembered him but he didn’t want to believe it was really him. “It´s not a trick Bucky. It´s really me!” Steve told him closing on him while eeying the enemy forgetting about his apprehensions.


“No.” Bucky screamed vexed taking a step ahead while pointing his gun at him for an instant before thinking it over and swiftly turning it back against Novikov and Karavayev. “I know what I did. I remember the things they did top me … the things that they made me do.” He look at him sideways as he pulled the trigger. “It can´t be you.” The shoot killed Novikov instantly making Steve scowl.


He had to make a choice even if it meant breaking more than one promise or Bucky would never believe him. He would have to gamble all in one move. In his heart he knew that if he was forced to fight Bucky again he would break all the promises anyway. He proceeded to slowly close the gap between Bucky and himself trying not to startle the distressed man unsuccessfully; Bucky turn his gun at him on a second agitated and angry. Steve huffed upset while listening to the beat of his own heart. Without a word he raised his hands in surrender as he dropped his shield which fell down with a loudly clank before rolling a few meters away from him. Taking a deep breath, he looked straight into Bucky´s confused glare as he told him. “It´s really me jerk. I thought you said you remembered me.”


Bucky froze at his words as if the world had shattered on him once more; he couldn´t tell if he was more afraid of believing them, or them being a lie. Taking a tentatively step towards Steve holding his riffle with a tight grip on his shakily hands he asked fearfully. “Punk?”


Steve smiled openly as if the events of the previous hours had never taken place. Slowly he removed his helmet so Bucky could have a better look at him.


“I thought …” Bucky said through misty eyes undecided. He couldn´t understand how it was possible that Steve could be standing right beside him and even less how he didn´t seemed to hate him after … what he had done to him.


“I know.” Steve acknowledged with understanding seeing the guilt reflected in his eyes. Suddenly he noticed Karavayev moving swiftly into the panel and pressing some buttons. He looked around alarmed and barely caught a glimpse of some sort of platform quickly closing on top of Bucky. “Look out!” He screamed as he swiftly pushed Bucky out of the way. Unfortunately for him, he hadn´t been quick enough; he crashed heavily against the energy force field that had trapped him instead of Bucky.


“Steve!” Bucky rushed up instantly to his aid. It was an energy force field he wouldn’t be able to  break it. “Get him out.” He demanded resolute and unswerving as he ferociously raised his gun against Karavayev who just smiled maliciously at him while he pushed one more button. “Hail Hydra” He exclaimed just as he shot the panel. He had uttered his final words; Bucky relentlessly drove a bullet through his skull without even flinching. He growled vexed as he took a step towards the panel; it might take him longer but he would eventually figure out how to release Steve. Before he could take a second step a startled gasp made him turn around. There was some kind of gas being pumped into the small prison. Steve watched helpless as the gas started to raise; he had nothing to stop it.

“Steve!” Bucky rushed back alarmed; he looked even more scared than Steve himself. “This can’t be happening; not now.” He thought in despair.  He tried shooting both at the top and bottom of the container without any result; the bullets just bounced on it.  Desperate he punched the energy field with all his strength using his cybernetic arm; the field didn´t even flickered mocking his efforts. “Why do you always do this sort of things to me?” He leaned into the barrier reproaching Steve defeated.


Steve looked at him pained while he tried to stop himself from coughing while he volunteered an insincere apology; better him than Bucky. He had gone through enough already. “I´m sorry.” The gas had almost filed the case; Bucky kept staring at Steve´s prison trying to figure out a way to get Steve out when the container rocked and trembled for an instant before being forcible pulled up. The blades of a helicopter could be heard at the distance over their heads.

“Bucky!” Steve called out as he fell on his knees unbalanced by the unexpected movement. He coughed painfully bending over; he could feel his consciousness fading away as the sleeping gas began having its effect on him.


“I will find you Stevie. “Bucky screamed at the top of his lungs hoping with all his heart Steve could hear him. “I will find you! Doesn´t matter how long it takes. “ He vowed decided; no power on earth would be able to make him broke that promise. “Just … hold on!” Bucky yelled anguished as he managed to caught a glimpse of Steve as the helicopter carried him away. Steve soon collapsed inside the container unable to resist anymore.


Natasha, Loki and what was left of their team suddenly busted in. They had come up on a different level from them; looking for another route they had found the surveillance center. While going over the cameras trying to locate themselves they had watched aghast as Steve dropped his shield while meeting Bucky again.  They dashed down to his rescue, raising more than a little swearing on their way. How could he had done that? After all the promises he had made … they just begged in their heads that they wouldn´t get there too late.


“Where´s Steve?” What did you do to him?” Loki growled crossed while forcibly lifting Bucky by his throat. He had been too distracted watching powerless as Steve was taken away.


“They … have him.” Bucky coarsely answered eyeing Loki angrily before realizing they were his best chance to ever finding Steve; masquerading the fury he felt he told them. “We … have to …get … him … back.”


Loki looked at him closely before letting him go; against of all odds he did remembered Steve. “We will.” He assured him resolute before punching him in the face. He wasn´t the kind of person that forgets easily. “That´s for stabbing him.” He spat angrily.


Bucky smirked wryly regaining his balance. “I guess I deserved that.” He admitted while clecking for blood using the back of his hand smiling wickedly when he found some. “Now, if you are finished …” He was interrupted by a loud explosion that rumble all over the place. “The base is self-destructing.” Bucky informed them more vexed than surprised. “Follow me before we are buried alive.”


Without any complaints except for an exasperated exchange of stares between Loki and Natasha everyone swiftly followed him through the maze of corridors. They had barely made it out when two Quinjets as well as Tony in his armour landed. The structure caved down after them raising a cloud of dust and debris; once it settled Clint asked them grimly. “Where´s Steve?”


“Hydra caught him.” Was Bucky stern reply. Hydra … the word itself burned him.


“You got to be shitting me!” Clint spat in disbelief nodding distraught; of all outcomes. Eeying Bucky cautiously he frantically asked Natasha with some signs “He´s in our side now?”.


“Yes, he´s on our side now.” She admitted out loud; at least for the moment. She had firsthand experience on the subject; brainwashing programming it wasn´t something you could easily erase though deprogramming would have to wait.  “How much do you remember?” She asked him with a serious frown.


“All of it.” Bucky grimly told them with a grave look while his mind played over and over Steve’s shocked face as he stabbed him. “We need to get moving and fast.” He remembered other things, not only his life before and during the war, or the assassinations; he remembered how they tortured him … how they made him to comply.


“Do you know where they took Steve?” Tony asked in hope while trying to make sure Loki was still in one piece. Loki just gave him a stern look and then returned his attention to Barnes.


“No.” Bucky regretfully admitted. “ But we need to find him as soon as possible.” They have him, they have him his mind repeated in frenzy; they had his Steve and he knew exactly what that meant.


“Why?” Loki asked acidly. The urgency in Bucky´s tone; his entire demeanor, it all gave him a very bad feeling.


“What does Hydra does to an enemy agent when it isn’t planning to kill him?” He offered them with a furious scowl. Wasn´t it enough then done it to him? Why Steve?


Clint and Natasha stiffed up in realization as they mumbled beneath their breath. “Brainwash” “Torture”


“They are the same.” Bucky agreed heavily. Breaking Steve … he dreaded the though. If they had the time, they would break him or worst; he would die.


Tony gasped alarmed by his revelation. “But … Steve is in no shape … he can´t endure that … not know, not after you …” He stopped abruptly.


“Stabbed him.” Bucky ended his sentence for him vexed. “I know.” He grimly added. Unavertable he had provided Hydra with a tool against him. “How did he … survive?” He inquired laboriously, regretfully.


“I healed him.” Loki volunteered in a stern tone. Bucky may have had stab Steve while brainwashed but that didn´t make it any better in his eyes.


“Thank you.” Bucky bowed his head slightly in gratitude. He wouldn´t forget it.


“I didn´t do it for you.” Loki spat at him annoyed. The arrogance.


“I know.” Bucky agreed while holding Loki´s angry stare. He understood the source of his anger but there was nothing he could do about it so he added. “Either way I´m grateful you did.” He rubbed the spot where Loki had hit him earlier. “Now, I have some ideas of how to find out where they holding him; are you coming?” He volunteered without waiting for their reply as he kept walking towards one of the Quinjets while he reloaded his gun. There wouldn´t be a stone unturned, not one.


“So that’s where he got that from …” Tony grinned almost amused by a not so distant similarity with Steve’s´ attitudes.


“We should´ve know.” Natasha plainly agreed trying hard not to smile. After all they had been best friends most of their lives; it shouldn´t have come as a surprise.

Searching for Barnes

“What´s your ATA BOYS?” Natasha asked over the comlink.


“We´ll have the base in sight in a couple of minutes.” Clint answered nonchalant.


“All right. We´ll be on stand bye until you do.” Natasha volunteered before walking to the back of the craft.


They had taken two crafts each; one for the SWAT and one for themselves. She sat beside Steve and gave Loki a discreet sign asking for some privacy. Loki made an excuse and went to the cockpit.


“Are you sure you are up to this Steve?” She asked with a concerned look on her face.


“I am Nat, I swear. You really can stop being over-motherly with me. I´ll be fine.” Steve reassured her.


“I´m not being over-motherly with you.” Natasha complained while securing the SWAT helmet to Steve´s head who in return gave her an amused look. “Well, maybe a little.” She admitted wryly. “Just … don´t let yourself get stabbed again, will you?”


“I didn´t …” Steve started to complain when Natasha gave him a very stern look. Steve sighed as he down casted his head. “I just didn´t thought he actually would do it.” He finally confessed.


“Well; now you know.” Natasha told him calmly; next she tilted his chin up. “Be careful; that´s all I want. All right?”


“I will.” Steve promised as he nodded his head affirmatively.


As soon as she walked away Loki returned to his side. Leaning to get a better look at him Steve asked slightly annoyed by all the attention he was getting. “Are you going to tell me to take care too? Even Tony did.”


Loki looked back at him puzzled by his question. “I´m quite sure you know how to take care of yourself.” Then he changed his tone for a very authoritative one. “But I don´t want you out of my sight.”


“Loki!” Steve whined distraught.


“I’m serious Steve.” Loki warned him sternly.


“God! You are worse than Natasha.” Steve complained wryly.


Loki just smirked amused for a moment before replying. “You are such an unruly brat!”


Steve didn´t knew what he could possibly say to that in a way it wouldn´t add to Loki´s point. Pouting like a scolded child he decided to stay quiet. Loki gave him a quick glance and smile satisfied with himself. But Steve’s´ silence didn´t last long.


“Loki … about earlier. You know I was lying, don´t you? I mean … I´m sorry.” Steve suddenly confessed regretfully.


Loki looked back at him. “You know I don´t give my friendship easily Steve. You should appreciate it more.”


Steve down casted his gaze ashamed at the unsaid reproach. “I know … I mean … I do. It won´t happen again.”


“They are in position guys. Get ready to disembark.” Natasha interrupted them.


At the same time both teams sneaked into their respective targets. Clint and Tony were met with heavy resistance almost immediately making Tony almost glad Loki wasn´t with him. Whereas Loki´s team mates walked uninterrupted for quite a while.


“Are you sure this is the location?” Loki asked Natasha softly just as they turned in a corner.


As if it was a reply to his question they suddenly were met by a bloody trace of savagely murdered bodies. The lights flickered giving the hallway an even more ghostly appearance.


“That´s what he said.” Natasha answered with irony.


“Shouldn´t we call the others?” Loki inquired while assessing any possible threats.


“We can´t be sure Bucky is here.” Steve reminded them.


“Steve is right. We need a visual confirmation.” Natasha agreed; it was a Hydra base after all, anything could´ve happen down there.

They kept advancing, moving noiselessly between the bodies. Suddenly the narrow hallway turned into a wider one that crossed their path from right to left. On the other side the hallway bifurcated into two. Without any warning bullets began to rain over them from all sides although it seemed that none of them were specifically directed to them. At least not at the moment. They took cover backing down through the same corridor they had come through when a figure flashed running past them on the pursuit of a group of soldiers rabidly firing at them as he deflected the attack of a bigger group that was in return pursuing him.


“Bucky!” Steve yelled running after him without a second thought as fast as he could through the blazing bullet rain.


“Steve!” Loki tried to pull him back but had to fall back immediately. Steve´s actions had given their position away. The team that had been following Bucky split in two. One half remained to stop the intruders while the other half continued their pursuit.

Enraged by their intromission Loki blasted them with a green energy ball as the rest of the SWAT team led by Natasha secured the hallway. When they arrived to the hallway Steve had disappeared into they were met with by a sturdy looking gate that sealed their path. They could overhear gunshots and fighting on the other side for a few instants; then everything went quiet.


“Rogers! Report! Where the hell are you?” Natasha inquired frantically through the comlink.


“On the other side of the gate.” Steve gingerly volunteered while leaning against the door trying to catch his breath. He tried to unsuccessfully muffle a painful complaint as he nursed a shallow wound on his left side. SWAT uniforms didn´t offered as much protection as his did.


“Damnit Rogers! Are you hurt?” Natasha asked him enraged.


“It´s just a grazed.” Steve volunteered while assessing the gravity of the wound.


Both Loki and Natasha growled in disbelief at that.


“Didn´t I told you not to get out of my sight?!” Loki scolded him vexed.


“I know.” Steve plainly agreed. “But I think we have a bigger problem. A lost bullet took the door panel off. I tried to fix it; but it doesn´t work anymore.” He acknowledged worryingly. “On the other side you can call our reinforcements. I had visual on Bucky for a second.”


“Clint … we have visual confirmation on Barnes.” Natasha reported angrily.


“What´s wrong?” Clint asked immediately concerned by her tone.


“Guess who managed to get shot already.” Natasha complained displeased.


“God dammit Steve!” Clint spat enraged.


“Will you all cut it out! You are making me feel like a third grader.” Steve spat equally enraged.


“Always in trouble Cap?” Tony asked in an amused tone after an awkward silence.


“Almost every day.” Steve confessed while he remembered his childhood.


“I got to say … I´m surprised he has lived this long.” Tony offered with sincerity. “How on earth did you manage to do that Cap?”


Steve smiled as he realized how. “I’ve always had someone to have my back.” First Bucky, then the Avengers.


“Don´t forget about that.” Tony reminded him sternly.


“I´m sorry guys. I think … I forgot.” Steve apologized heart fully. “But unless you can find a way to blast through this door I´m afraid you´ll have to find a way around it. You know I can’t just stay put.”


“We know.” Natasha agreed; the she asked Loki n a low tone. “Loki, could you?”


“Teleport to the other side, yes. Heal him, yes. But then what?” Loki acknowledged with a deep frown in his face. Using his energies for that when they could have dire need for them later; it just wasn’t an option.


“I know.” Natasha agreed heavily. “It´s not the best idea. Let´s save that option for a real emergency.” Next he told Steve. “You can’t stay there out on the open; it´s too risky. And we are bound to find another way in. Just … try not to get yourself killed this time. For real, not before we get to you.”


“I´ll do my best.” Steve promised with a smirk.

Preparing for the Mission

As Steve dressed up as fast as he could the rest of the team put each other up to speed on what they knew.


“so Nat, did your contact said anything else?” Clint asked frowning in deep thought.


“Nothing that could be useful. He gave me Barnes file but he doesn´t have a clue about where could Hydra be hiding him. All he knew was the location of two operational hydra bases in the city. Those are our best chances.”


“And if we attack one and he isn´t there we blow our chances of finding him.” Clint thought out loud, meditating on what he just said for a moment before sternly adding. “I hate to say this, but we´ll have to split up.”


“Can´t you send a SWAT team to one base while we take out the other?” Tony asked concerned. Dividing their forces; he couldn´t think of a worst plan.


“And if the SWAT team finds Barnes instead of us? They wouldn´t have a chance. Don´t you remember what he …” Natasha elbowed him hard while giving him a dirty look pointing at Steve with a nod.


“Ouch! Why?” Clint first complained before noticing Natasha signal. “Oh, mmm, well you know what´s he´s capable of.”


Steve had overheard everything and with a heavy sigh told them as he continued tying up his boots. “He stab me. You can say it out loud. And maybe I didn´t resisted him in the end; but he´s more than what the SWAT team can handle.”


Tony scowled grimly. They had a point. “All right. What are you suggesting?” He asked as he crossed his arms upset.


“We divide into two teams. Each team takes a SWAT unit for support. You and me take the base at the outskirts of the city. Natasha, Loki and Steve take the one in the abandoned industrial sector. As soon as one of the teams can confirm eyes on Barnes the other team will fall back to help them.” Clint explained while concentrating on the city plans appearing on his portable screen.


Tony´s frown grew even more. “Why don´t I take Loki with me? We´ll make a better team.”


“I need Loki with Steve, Tony. Just in case.” Clint informed him harshly.


“I am right here you know?” Steve complained upset. “And I´m just picking up my pace I´m not crippled.”


“You lost your say in this when you allowed Barnes to stab you!” Clint spat in anger. “And you are either going with Loki or back to bed. Your call.” He pointed to the bed with a severe look.


Steve clenched his jaw angry. He knew he couldn´t possibly beast that argument. “Fine. We´ll do it your way.” He agreed defeated still scowling.


“Clint is right Tony.” Loki intervened. “He needs someone to fills Cap´s position until he has picked up his pace.” He smirked with irony while catching a glimpse of Steve rolling his eyes at him.


“But Loki, the spell …” He wanted to say something else but the furious glare Loki gave him stopped him. Loki had been in bed only a week before; and even if Asgardians healed much faster than humans he didn´t felt comfortable about Loki fighting without him. Not just yet.


“I´ve had more than enough time to recuperate.” Loki answered eying him sternly. “There´s nothing to worry about.” He ended trying to soften his tone.


“But …” Tony started to complain.


“I said I´m all right.” Loki insisted more than slightly annoyed by his insistence,


“Are you sure?” Tony asked worryingly knowing he wouldn´t be able to change Loki´s mind.


Loki softened at the pleading look Tony gave him. “Do you want me to prove it to you?” He almost purred as he mischievously ran a finger over the chest plate of his armour licking his lower lip in anticipation.


Tony couldn´t thought of a come back to that and just uttered a flustered “Umm”


Both Nat and Clint complained instantly to the lover’s foreplay. “God guys! We are about to go on a mission here! Get a room when we get back.” Clint scolded then jokingly. Even Steve smirked amused at the scene.


“All right.” Tony conceded defeated. “And for your information whatever we do after the mission is not of your business.”


Clint lift his hands in the air as peace offer with a big grin on his face. “As long as we all come back in one piece I don´t give a damn.”


“Sounds fair to me.” Steve interjected.


“Shut up Cap! We wouldn´t be in this mess if it wasn´t for you.” Tony scolded him harshly; allowing his anger to get the worst of him he added. “But maybe we should get a room for you and Barnes. Do you want me to give you a few pointers? Maybe lend you some lub?”


Everyone looked shocked at him. “Tony!” The scold was almost unanimous. Only Steve had remained silent after an initial hurt scowl he had down casted his gaze mortified.


“That was uncalled for.” Natasha admonished him displeased before walking up to comfort Steve.


“Way out of line man.” Clint told him off before walking away. He had to set up the aircrafts and SWAT teams.


Loki remained in his place looking at him disapprovingly.


“This is both your faults.” Tony informed him wryly. He thought he had forgiven both Loki and Steve for kissing … but maybe deep down he still hadn´t. Loki just kept looking at him with his eyes crossed for a bit longer before telling him in disbelief. “We had a whole week to talk this over and you choose now to do this? Now … before we go into battle?”


Tony scowled while adverting his eyes; Loki was right. He couldn´t have picked a worst moment to let his jealousy get the worst of him. “I know.” He finally acknowledged grimly. “I just can´t help it. I´m jealous, ok?” He paused then pointing out at Steve he added. “I mean … just look at him. He looks so lost even I want to hold him tight.”


Loki snorted lightly at that. With a mischievous smile he whispered in Tony´s ear. “And that´s why he need a friend.” Changing his tone for a lustfully one he added. “And why you will get a not so friendly reminder of whom you belong to once this is over.”


Tony´s heart race at his words. He wasn´t sure if he should feel aroused or concerned; maybe a little of both. He opened his mouth to say something but Loki pushed his index to his lips motioning silence. “We´ll continue this later, all right?” Now help Natasha and Clint with the preparations. If they hadn´t thought of something make sure you do. I´ll talk to Steve. Are we clear?”


“Cristal.” Tony replied. “I´m …”


“I know.” Loki reassured him. “now hurry. We don´t have much time.” Then he approached Natasha and Steve who were sitting on the bed talking.


“Do you mind if I have a word with Steve?” He asked her politely.


“No, of course no.” Natasha agreed quickly. “Steve?”


“It´s all right. You have things to do.” Steve agreed still gloomy.


Both Tony and Natasha left the room arguing between themselves. As soon as they were alone Steve busted out. “He hasn´t forgiven me.”


“It will take him some time; but he will … in the end.” Loki admitted. “you shouldn´t let that botter you right now.”


“I know.” Steve agreed. “Do I look as bad as I feel?”


“Of course not. You look worse.” Loki jokingly teased him.


Steve smirked shyly at his joking tone. “Are you really up to this?” He suddenly asked Loki worryingly.


“I should be the one asking you that.” Loki admonished him.


“I´ll be all right.” Steve asseverated sternly.


“Then we shouldn´t speak of this anymore.” He volunteered willingly. “And … Steve”


“Yes?” Steve turned around intrigued.


“I apologize for what Tony said; but …if you do have any questions … “Loki looked him straight in the eye while saying it.


Steve dropped his gaze flustered. “I think … I´ll figure it out … by myself.”


Loki laughed whole heartedly at his shyness. “I´m sure you will.”

Waking Up

“I´m not Bucky!” The furious growl, the emptiness in his eyes; it hurt more than the blade that had just been pulled out of him. He could feel his breathing becoming constricted; a sensation not unknown to him. You never truly forget a feeling like that; the aching despair of forcing the slightest breath of air inside your own lungs. But not even that ached as bad as the void in his gaze while he stabbed him again. “I … am … sorry.” He forced his choked voice out. “For allowing them to do this to you” He screamed in his mind pained. “I …” The arrow flew between them.


“Bucky!” He yelled himself awake. His breathing agitated, his pulse erratic, his mind and eyes unfocused. A sudden pain forced him to bend over as a pair of hands stilled him. “Steve! You are safe! Come down.” A stern but concerned tone reassured him as the hands laid him down again.

He coughed hurtfully as he allowed himself to be guided back down closing his eyes overwhelmed. His eyes flickered several times until they adjusted to the light slowly recognizing the familiar figure standing beside him.


“Loki?” He frowned confused. How? No … “How long?” He asked in distraught.


Loki frowned equally confused by his question before asking in return. “Since you been stab?”


“I need to know, please.” Steve demanded anguished as he gave a small affirmation nod.


“Umm … a couple of hours, maybe a bit longer. I don´t know.” Why would that be important to him right then?


Steve sighed relieved, he could still be in time. He tried to sit up again despite the pain; trying to hide a scowl as he did.


“What do you think you are doing?” Loki scolded him harshly. “Are you out of your freaking mind? You barely made it this time. The doctor said …” He kept admonishing Steve as he forcibly tried to kept him still.


“I have to find him.” Steve exclaimed distraught in half a breath.


“Find who?” Loki inquired vexed. Who could be that important?


“Bucky” Steve volunteered leaning against Loki´s strong hold. Wincing at every move he knew there was little he could do to stop him from pushing him back to bed.


“Who?” Loki asked in disbelief with a deep frown.


“The soldier…” Steve huff in despair looking straight into Loki’s eyes in deep plea.


Loki´s expression changed from disbelief to pure anger. “Can´t you see you are in no condition to go anywhere? He almost killed you!”


“He … doesn´t know what he´s doing.” Steve offered distraught nodding his head negatively in disbelief.


Loki opened his mouth enraged for a second before clenching it close again. With a feral growl he stared vexed into Steve’s eyes as he asseverated. “I saw your wounds Steve. He knew exactly what he was doing! The only reason you are still alive is because of me!”


Loki´s ferocity startled Steve for an instant. He never thought he would really care that much. He closed his eyes biting his lip hard; he needed to find a way. Sighing he opened them again; misty eyes looked at Loki´s pleadingly as he begged him once more in a low tone. “Loki, please … let me go. You have Tony … please, let me go.”


Loki stared at him in disbelief. His plea hid a soft unsaid reproach. One that merciless pulled a threat on his mind. The same thread that made him run into his aid. He owed him; not only for saving his life and bringing Tony and himself together again. He had hurt him; both on purpose and unintentionally. And what made matters worse was that Steve had known it all along and he … he just allowed him do it anyway. There were a few handful of things he really felt guilty about and that was one of them. He had given everything back to him and in payment he had broken his heart. Maybe if he hadn´t … he wouldn´t have … gone away. He sighed nodding his head negatively. “ I can´t.”


Steve widened his eyes appalled. “Why?” He asked anguished.


Loki looked into his eyes bemused by the unexpected question. “Because … I actually do care if you live or not.” He answered with a frown before reproach him hurt. “What kind of question is that? Do you think I was lying last week when I told you …?”


“I wished you hadn´t.” Steve interrupted him shaken. “I wished you hadn´t meant a thing.” He regretfully, painfully lied. “We would be better off if you hadn´t say a thing … you would´ve just let me go …”


Not even Loki realized he had slapped Steve until he saw the hurt in his eyes as he nursed his throbbing cheek. He froze surprised by his own reaction. “I … I … I didn’t mean.” He leaned worryingly but Steve backed away from his touch.


“It would´ve been easier.” Steve acknowledged down casted. “I´m sorry but that´s the truth.” He sighed upset before continuing. “Loki I do understand you saved my life and I´m grateful about it. But you don´t ow me anything … I … I got to do this on my own.”


“Why?” Loki asked concerned.


“I don´t know what Hydra did to him; but he is … dangerous. I got to do this by myself. I don´t want anyone else to get hurt … If someone dies on my account … I wouldn´t be able to handle it.”


Loki smirked half amused, half annoyed. Like he hadn´t figured that part by himself. “No.” He added sternly. “Why is he so important to you?”


“Loki, we are wasting time.” Steve huffed distraught. “If his trace goes cold I´ll never be able to find him again.”


“And just where do you think you are going?” Clint ask with a frown as he walked on them. He had overheard Steve´s last words. “You are not going anywhere … not until the doctor says it´s ok for you to leave.” He ended as he crossed his arms with a determined look upon his face.


Steve facepalm distraught nodding in disbelief; as if nearly convincing Loki hadn´t been hard enough.


“To find his old team mate.” Natasha volunteered walking right behind Clint. Walking right to Steve she added. “I get he is an old friend Rogers and that you must feel guilty for what Hydra did to him; but he´s not the man you knew. That man is long gone. He just tried to kill you for God´s sake!”


“No …” Steve denied distraught. “Bucky would never hurt me. Whatever Hydra did to him … I got to undo it. “ He looked up at them with stern resolution in his eyes. “I´m not asking any of you to come with me. I´m just begging all of you to let me do this. Just let me go, it´s better this way.”


“What?!” Clint yelled enraged. “you are barely waking up and you want to go after him … alone? Fuck no! You are staying in that bed even if I have to tie you to it.” He informed him vexed while menacingly approaching the bed. Loki stood up between them releasing Steve who seized the opportunity and swiftly hurled himself out of the bed falling loudly while almost knocking down the IV cart along with him.


Three worried faces ran to his aid while Steve pounded his fist against the ground frustrated by his own failed effort. His legs hadn´t been able to sustain his own weight. As two pair of strong hands tried to help him up he refused them.


“I can do this.” He growled through clenched teeth as eh laboriously sat himself up panting at the effort. He needed to get his strength back and fast.


“This is ridiculous Steve!” Clint scolded him running his hands through his hair in disbelief. “Just … just forget about him.”


Steve felt his blood boil at his words and clumsily, painfully dragged himself up using the bed as a support. “No!” He spat vexed.


“Why on earth no?” Clint spat back irked.


“Because I love him, that’s why!” Steve confessed abruptly.


“You what?” Clint asked bemused.


“Because I love him.” Steve replied astonished by his own confession. He had never voiced it out loud.


Loki´s eyes widened with the realization of who Bucky really was. “They are gone.” That´s why he was so desperate; he could hardly blame him.


“But … Peggy?” Clint frowned confused.


Steve snorted wryly. “What about her?”


“I thought you loved her … you …”Clint offered confused.


“And I did, deeply.” Steve admitted. “As it was expected of me. But … that doesn´t mean … I didn´t loved him too. But … it couldn´t be … not back then.” Steve added painfully.


Natasha frowned distraught as he informed the rest of the team. “It was illegal.”


Steve nodded affirmative biting his lip. “It was.” He sighed before adding. “I never ever told him. Even if he … they would´ve made an example of both of us if anyone had found out. So … I never said a word.”


“You would´ve gone to jail.” Natasha added helping Steve to stand up.


“Or worst.” Steve admitted through tearful eyes.


“I don´t understand.” Loki admitted confused.


Natasha explained quickly. “It was illegal for two men to be on a romantic relationship back then.”


“Actually it´s still illegal in some places.” Tony added walking to them. He had arrived a few moments before.


Loki looked at him shocked.


“What? I don´t do the laws.” Tony volunteered wryly. “Now, if you ask me I find it extremely … pleasant.” He winked an eye at Loki. “Now will any of you explain to me what´s going on and why is Steve out of bed after we almost lost him?”


“Please, we don´t have the time. Just give me some clothes and let me go.” Steve pleaded in a whining tone. “You can explain him once I´m gone.”


“You are not going anywhere!” Clint growled still very angry. “We are going to get your long lost boyfriend back! And you are going back into bed right now!” He took a step forward.


“But …” Steve complained distraught.


“Clint …. could we …. have a word?” Loki suggested sternly while he cut into his path abruptly.


“But …” Clint complained bemused.


“I insist.” Loki gravely added.


“Fine…” Clint agreed reluctantly.


Loki took Clint to one side of the room while Tony and Natasha were left to deal with an uncooperative Steve who refused to get back into bed.


“Clint.” Loki started calmly.


“I know what you are about to say Loki; but we can´t take him with us.” He eyed back at Steve who was laboriously walking away from Tony and Natasha while refusing to stay still.


Loki looked back for an instant before telling him gravely. “You know as well as I do that if we don´t take him with us he´ll find his own way out of the hospital. And then we won´t be able to stop him.”


Clint couldn´t deny it, Loki was right. Even if he ordered Steve to be in lock down he´d eventually escape. He sighed disgruntled. “You are actually suggesting we take him with us? In his condition? “He nodded in disbelief. “I don´t know Loki but it seems like a very bad idea.”


“At least we´ll be able to keep an eye on him. “ Loki suggested. “There´s no telling what kind of trouble he can ran into on his own. You know him better than I do Clint; tell me if I´m wrong.”


“I don´t like this.” Clint surrendered annoyed.


“You don´t have to.” Loki admitted; he wasn´t fond of the idea either.


“Don´t you just stand there stalling!” Steve reproached Tony and Natasha irked while dragging the IV cart with him as he ransacked the closet. “Help me find some clothes … and stop staring at my butt!”


Loki turned immediately at the sound of that and half amused, half annoyed called out. “Tony!”


“What?” Tony whined annoyed. “It´s not my fault hospital gowns don´t …” He made a grabbing gesture with his hands while pointing at Steve´s. “… cover that area.”


“Or that he has a really nice ass.” Natasha added shamelessly while smirking in complicity with Tony at the deeply offended scowl Steve was making.


“Fine!” He growled vexed while trying to close the gap in the posterior of the hospital gown with one hand. “As everything is a joke to you I´ll find some clothes myself.” Without waiting for anyone’s reply he directed himself to the door.


Clint stopped him hurryingly.  “No, wait! Wait!” He sighed defeated. “I´ll find you something to wear. Just … stay right here.” He was about to step out when he turned and warned Tony and Natasha. “And will you two behave and stop trying to send Steve to an early grave?  He has had a really bad day!”


“Ok mum, we´ll behave.” Tony replied with irony. Noticing Loki’s disapproval glare, he elaborated. “We were just trying to cheer him up. “Loki frowned. “All right we won´t do it again, sorry Cap.” He offered insincerely.


Within a few minutes Clint walked back with a standard SWAT SHIELD´s uniform, a pair of combat boots and his shield.


“Don´t make me regret this Steve.” He told the blond man sternly as he handed him the clothing.


Steve smiled warmly for the first time since he woke up. “You won´t. I promise.”

You killed him

Crouched in a lethargic trance after an hour or so of remaining still a lonesome figured gazed into the night contemplating the city lights from his temporary hideout in a skyscraper under construction that was left abandoned during the night.


Why hadn´t he returned to the base? He didn´t even remembered making that choice. He just knew that he couldn´t; not until he could make some sense of the strange feeling that hunted his soul. It wasn´t fear; he was used to fear. Anxiety over the mission? Never, he would keep trying until it was fulfilled just as it was expected for him. Whatever feeling he felt creeping inside was different, deeper, unfamiliar … a sense of … loss. Why? He had nothing except the missions, no one to miss, no one to lose; nevertheless … he contemplated at his hands absentmindedly. They still had traces of blood on them. Of his blood. He frowned; he had had blood in his hands many times before and it had never bother him before. Why was this time different? What one more death on an endless chain mattered? There were entire years lost from his memory but he knew one thing; he was an assassin. The best there was. Then, why?


Unordered memories of the events that transpired a few hours before flooded his mind. “You know me …” No, he didn´t. But, those yes … there was something in those eyes … such sorrow.

“It was just a trap. An attempt to distract me.” He stubbornly claimed over and over without believing it.

“Bucky … why?” He couldn´t forget the look on the man’s face when he had stabbed him for the second time. Why didn´t he even tried to defend himself? It was a trap … one in which the enemy had fallen; not him. He nodded his head in disbelief. It didn´t make any sense.

Cradling his head in desperation he zealously sought for a memory that would help him prove the falsity of his words.

“We were friends.” He had told him as he had feebly attempted to slow the knife from penetrating on his side. “Until the end of the line; remember?” He had volunteered while he fought the pain the sharp blade caused him. Those words, his words had triggered a cold rage within him. “I don´t know you.” He had growled pushing the knife in with a powerful blow. “I’m not Bucky.” He had screamed in feral frenzy as he pulled the knife out to stab him again with even more rage.

“I … am … sorry.” His last words on tearful eyes. “I …” What would have him said if they hadn´t been interrupted? Why did his words vex him so? He didn´t knew him … he couldn´t knew him. Then, why … why did he felt like he did? He had wrestled with himself for what seemed hours trying to dismiss that feeling.

Why couldn´t he forget those eyes? Those eyes … those cerulean blue eyes … that had looked at him with such urgency even at the brim of death. A sudden flash of a repress memory emerged; the same blue eyes looking at him through grief. He gasped shaken. He knew his name; he had told him his name. Without a reason he had pushed it down afraid of … he didn´t knew why. Decided he forced himself to say it out loud. “Steve.” More random memories attached to that name suddenly unlocked. Memories of a young boy; too weak to defend himself, too stubborn not to try. His eyes flooded along with the memories. He smirked at a fuzzy memory of a day at the beach.

“Punk.” The word burst out of his mouth without even thinking. Strange such a word would undo him. He broke down pained; he did knew him, and now … thick tears fell over his hands as he stared at them in horror. “I … killed him.” There was no point on denying it. An overwhelming assurance of what he had done crushed him. Even if his comrades had managed to provide him with medical assistance he should have died by now. He knew exactly where and how bad he had cut him; he must have bleed to death within the hour.

“I´m sorry?” The words now hunted him. “What are you sorry about you son of a bitch?” He raged to the heavens as the memory of Steve´s face while he said them burned into his heart. “For God´s sake Steve …I killed you” He rose up enraged at himself looking for something to vent his anger with. “What do you have to be sorry about?” He kept raging as he trashed the room, knocking the walls in fury, overturning scaffolds and tables until he was too exhausted to continue. He dropped to his knees in grief while sobbing uncontrollably as he embraced all the pain his heart felt. He didn´t wanted to forget it, he didn´t wanted to forget him; his Steve, his friend, his brother … there weren´t enough words to describe what he felt for him.

“What have I done?” He sniveled as he reproached himself harshly closing his eyes sickened by his own reflection in a broken glass. “I …” Repressed memories kept unlocking; surfacing through the devastating pain. He could see Steve clearly in his mind now; a young man that looked at him in deep affection after coming to his aid one more time. A flustered shy Steve that blushed at any compliment he might give him. “You … were … my friend … and I … I … killed you.” Through minutes without end he furiously, savagely pulled every one of the memories he could find despite the pain every one of them caused him; sadly, languishing on the floor; he remembered the war, the Howling Commandos … Hydra. He widened his eyes enraged; next he observed his cybernetic arm. Closing his fist tightly he acknowledged out loud. “They … they do this to me. They turned me into … this. He spat with disgust as his reflection caught his eye again. “They are the ones.” His features distorted by the fierceness he now felt. “They … they killed you.”

Madden by the revelation he stood up; huffing furiously he clenched his jaw. There was nothing he could do for Steve; nothing he could ever do would bring him back. There was nothing except revenge. He knew the base; he knew how to bypass their defenses. Once there he would do what they had trained him to do. They wanted an assassin? That was exactly what they were going to get.


Meanwhile in the Hydra base his absence had not went unnoticed. “Comrade Novikov. Do we have a report on the soldier?”


“Yes, sir. We located him in the city after failing his mission. He doesn´t seem to be regrouping. “ The technician informed him.


“How long since he had moved?” The officer asked.


“About three hours Sir.” Novikov repplied. Suddenly the screen beeped. “He´s on the move again.”


Karavayev scowled pensively; the Winter Soldier had been out of invernation for too long. It was not unknown to him the incidents his mental instability brought along. “Which seems to be his destination? He asked sternly.


“It seems he´s coming back to the base Sir.” The younger man volunteered.


“Be sure to prepare the traps …” The superior officer ordered. “Just in case.” You didn´t killed a perfect asset; you just wiped him clean from time to time. And it seemed the time had come to do it again.


Clint took Loki to an improvised cafeteria on the same floor; it was evident all personal belonged to SHIELD. As Loki gave Clint an inquisitive look he swiftly explained as he shrugged his shoulders. “I thought it would be safer this way.”


Loki frowned upset. What kind of mission had they been into? Why hadn´t they called them sooner? He stopped on the spot and asked him vexed. “Safer? You´d better explain me what´s going on. Do you expect them to come back for Steve and finish the job?”


“No … well, not really. I´m not sure.” Clint said to appease him; next he huffed defeated. “I guess I´d better just explain this from the beginning. Do you mind if we eat something while I do? I´m not sure I remember when was the last time I had a decent meal.”


“All right.” Loki acceded; he needed to replenish his energies too. He followed Clint to an unoccupied table; as they sat Clint signaled someone and within a minute two food trays were brought to them. “Now, speak.”


“Ok” Clint agreed as swallow the food he just stuffed in his mouth a moment earlier. “Natasha and I were sent to investigate a sudden chain of “accidents” to several scientists working on human enhancement projects a couple of weeks ago. We found out that this so called accidents were nothing but assassinations; someone had done a very good job covering them up. As we tried to get ahead of the hitting list we run into him.”


“Him?” Loki inquired puzzled.


“He was supposed to be only a ghost, a story between intelligence agencies; but he turned out to be quite real. We only know him by his code name “The Winter Soldier”; he´s probably Hydra´s top operative.” Clint acknowledged with a frown. “For what we have seen an expert marksman, with extensive training in explosives and combat techniques.” He volunteered before hurryingly stuffing another spoonful on his mouth. “To make matters worse we think he´s an enhanced super soldier like Steve and I haven´t even mentioned his cybernetic arm.”


Loki observed him pensively. “Why didn´t you called us?”


“I did … a week ago. But … Steve thought we three alone could handle it … “He scowled as paused annoyed. “He was wrong.”


“Even if the soldier is an enhanced human that´s not something you hadn´t deal with before.” Loki leaned considering everything Clint had told him. “There´s something else you hadn’t told me. What is it Clint? Nothing you have told me so far would lead me to believe the soldier would try to come back for Steve.”


“You are right.” Clint agreed wryly. “Did Natasha told you that Steve didn´t even defend himself?”


“Yes, she did. She also told me about his last orders; to bring the soldier back unharmed.” Loki volunteered gravely.


“I know this doesn´t make any sense; but hear me out.  We were guarding the last of the scientists in the list, Dr. Ignatyev. We knew the soldier would come out after him sooner or later; and that would be the best chance we would get to stop him. The Doctor´s attendance to a Scientific Council in the Kremlin was the perfect opportunity for the soldier; as we anticipated … he took it. Steve noticed the soldier in one of the surrounding buildings after we successfully spoiled his assassination attempt. We pursued him to the sewer system under the park. The place is a maze … and with half flooded tunnels covering our own tracks it didn’t took long for us to get separated. When I finally picked up Steve´s trail I could overhear voices at the distance. I couldn’t make up what they were saying but I know they were arguing.” He stopped for a moment angered at the memories; he continued his recollection with a deep frown on his face. “When I finally saw them at the end of a narrow tunnel it seemed Steve was pinning the soldier against the wall … I didn´t knew he had already stabbed him; not until I watched him tore the knife from Steve´s side only to push it rabidly into his abdomen. “Clint stopped again as he remembered how useless he had felt in that exact moment. He took a sip of his drink. “I took a shot at him; of course the bastard just ducked it and fled away. I ran to Steve immediately. “


For a moment Clint remained in silence as he gathered his thoughts. “I think Steve knows him … when I got to him he wasn´t … I don´t know … angered, scared or whatever you might think is normal for someone who just got stabbed. He looked … sad, shocked; like he couldn’t believe the guy just stabbed him. And then he made me swear to bring him unharmed.” Clint fists clenched unconsciously. “He´d better have a very good explanation for that because that´s one promise I really don´t want to keep…”


Loki tilted his head pensively as he told Clint. “He probably does.” As Clint scowled at his words he added. “You can ask him about it when he wakes up.”


Clint sighed with resignation. At least he was waking up. He doubted for a moment he would when Natasha and himself called for the medical team back on the tunnels.


Suddenly a young agent approached them. “Agent Barton, sir …Dr. Franklin asked me to report to you that they finally moved Captain Rogers to the recuperation room.


“Thank you agent.” Clint acknowledged his report and added. “Tell Dr. Franklin we´ll be joining him in a moment.”


“Understood sir.” The young agent volunteered before leaving.


Clint hastily ate the rest of his food before asking Loki. “Are you coming?” He had asked him out of courtesy and was surprised when he accepted. While on their way to the recuperation room Clint couldn´t hide his curiosity and longer and plainly told him. “Loki… if you don´t mind me asking … I mean you look genuinely concerned about Steve; and you two … well, you never seemed to saw eye to eye; if you know what I mean.” There wasn´t a real animosity between them; they just didn´t seemed to get along; at least not until now.


Loki frowned annoyed at his unspoken question. “The fact that the Captain and I don´t always agree doesn´t mean I don’t care about what happens to him.” He spat vexed. “He is an important part of this team; and he almost died. I think I´m more than allowed to be concerned.” He growled, he didn´t owed him an explanation.


“Of course you are … I didn’t mean …” Clint apologized embarrassed. “Just forget I said anything.” He offered to placate Loki´s foul mood. All things considered getting on Loki´s his bad side was ill advisable at the moment.


When they entered the room the doctors had conditioned as recuperation room and saw Steve again they both visibly relaxed. They had changed him into a clean hospital gown. All the blood and filth had been cleansed away. There were still two central IV´s attached to his arm and neck; feeding Steve fluids and antibiotics to help him on his recuperation. There was no breathing tube; that meant he was breathing on his own.


“He´s still under the effects of the anesthesia.” Dr. Franklin informed them as they walked in. “Although he´ll probably awake in an hour or less.”


“What´s your prognosis Dr?” Clint asked sternly.


“There wasn´t any permanent damage to the organs due to the blood loss; but I would strongly advice some rest; at least for a couple of days. Even with his healing factor and Loki´s healing spell the stress his body was subjected too is likely to leave some side effects.”


“Side effects?” Loki inquired worryingly.


“Widespread pain, weakness, confusion; all related to the blood loss. We are still giving him fluids and antibiotics to lessen this effects. Now that the bleeding has finally stopped his body should start healing itself. “He made a pause. “Agent Barton; I wonder if we could run over some details; you know; paperwork.”


“An agent´s work is never done … not unless the paperwork is done.” Clint acknowledge wryly. “all right Dr. follow me to my office.” He turned to Loki. “Are you coming?”


“I wonder if I could stay.” He said to no one in particular; noticing Clint baffled look he added. “He probably shouldn’t wake up alone. The doctor said he might be confused.”


“It might be a good idea for someone to be with him when he finally does.” The doctor agreed giving Clint an approving look.


“All right.” Clint agreed in disbelief. “I´ll be right back.”


“Take your time.” Loki volunteered as he sat in the chair next to Steve’s bed. For a while he just sat there contemplating Steve´s face; he looked so pale. He sighed; only a week ago their roles had been reversed. He wondered what could´ve gone through Steve’s´ mind while he sat guarding him back in the mansion. He leaned closer rearranging a lose strand of hair. Humans were so fragile; even enhanced ones. He stroked Steve´s hair gently again; if he hadn´t been researching ley lines already … he dreaded the thought. “What happened Steve?” He asked in a low tone. “You should´ve called me and Tony sooner.” He ended pained; he knew exactly why he hadn´t … and it had almost costed him his life. Suddenly he gasped; he had forgotten about tony.


Standing up to the farthest corner of the room he called the A.I. “Jarvis, patch me to tony.”


“Certainly sir.” The A.I. complied instantly.


“Tony?” He asked anxiously.


“Still on my way. How´s Steve?” Tony replied worryingly.


“He´s resting now … “He sighed overwhelmed. “It was a real close call Tony. If it hadn´t worked.”


Tony could hear the strain in Loki´s voice; he frowned. Loki wasn´t that easy to shake up; it must had been a real close call. Sternly he reassured him. “But it did. Are you all right?”


“Yes, a bit tired; but that´s normal. How long till you arrive?” He longed for him.


“Missing me already?” Tony joked wryly.


“You wish.” Loki spat jokingly; next he asked again. “How long?”


“An hour maybe.” Tony volunteered. “don´t worry I´ll be there before you miss me.”


“I already miss you.” Loki confessed with a serious frown.


“Then I guess I´d better hurry up. Are you sure you are all right?” Tony asked concerned, he sounded worried.


“Sometimes I forget how fragile your lives are.” Loki offered candidly. “And then something like this happens …”


“That close, uh?” Tony frowned worried before trying to reassure him. “Don´t worry we are more resilient than you think. You´ll see; I bet Steve will be …”


“Don´t you ever die on me, all right?” Loki plea interrupted him. He couldn´t stop thinking it could´ve been Tony in that bed if things had been different.


“Loki …. I … I will try not to, ok?” Tony offered softly. What else could he tell him? “Please, don´t worry.”


“I can´t help it.” Loki smirked sadly. “Only a week ago Steve was taking care of me and now … there was so much blood, and all those tubes and doctors. If something like this happened to you; and I wouldn’t be able to get to you on time…. I don´t know what I would do.”


“Nothing will happen to me.” Tony asseverated adamantly. “Not as long as we are together; all right?”


“All right.” Loki agreed softly.


“I will see you soon.” Tony volunteered trying to cheer Loki up. “Take care of everyone till I get there; all right? And make sure to give Steve the scolding of his life for scaring us like that. I´m counting on you!”


Loki smirked amused by his suggestion. “All right.” He agreed unconvinced; scolding Steve … that was something he wasn´t planning on doing. At least not before giving Steve a chance to explain himself. A soft whimper caught his attention; Steve´s sleep was becoming restless.


“I got to go now.” He told Tony hurriedly as he walked back to the bed concerned.


“All right.” Tony agreed dryly, by the sound of Loki´s voice something had had to came up. “I love you.”


“Me too. See you soon.” Loki said before abruptly cutting the communication as he stood next to Steve´s bed concerned. Steve eyes fluttered as he stirred again; a distraught frown appearing on his face. Would he be dreaming? Remembering maybe? Whatever it was it didn’t seemed to be a pleasant one.

Blood and Bones

As soon as he arrived to Kutaisi Loki moved away from the vortex to the nearest plain field he could find. Once there he called the A.I. “Jarvis send my coordinates to Natasha and patch me to her.”


“I´m here.” Loki simply stated over the comlink.


“I´ll be there in a minute.” Natasha acknowledged dryly. “As soon as you are in I´m taking off I don´t want to waste any time.”


“Agreed.” Loki concurred in earnest; every moment mattered.


In less than a minute he could see the Quinjet lights approaching in the darkness of the night. As soon as Natasha lowered the ramp he walked right in. There were alone. Without wasting any time, he sat next to her in the cockpit.


As soon as Natasha acknowledged his presence she took off. Once in the air she noticed something; with a confused frown on her face she asked. “Isn´t that …?”


Loki knew exactly what she meant even before she ended her phrase. “Steve´s … yes. “ Loki sighed disgruntled. “Tony made me wear it he said it should help me blend in. I can take it off If you want … I really don´t need it.”


Natasha nodded her head negatively a deep frown still on her face. “No … leave it. I think it´s his favorite; if it went lost he …” She shut up suddenly; what if …?


“How is he?” Loki asked concerned by her gloominess.


“He was still on the operating table when I left. They keep giving him transfusions just to avoid him going into hypovolemic shock.” It wasn´t a hopeful scenario.


“What happened?” Loki inquired even more worried after hearing her.


“I wish I knew Loki.” Natasha volunteered with a sigh. “All I know is what Clint told me.” She frowned deeply as she remembered the earlier events. “We were near the Kremlin on a pursuit; the soldier tried to lose us descending to the sewer system through a manhole in Ekaterinisky Park. We had orders not to face him alone but … we got separated after a few minutes. “She made a pause angered at herself, if only they hadn´t. “Clint was the first to caught up with Steve … just in time to see him get stab …” She nodded her head in disbelief. “I don´t know Loki it doesn´t make any sense.”


“What doesn´t make sense Natasha?” Loki asked her intrigued.


“Clint said … that he didn’t even fought back.”


“He … what?” Loki frowned in disbelief. “That can´t be.” Why would he do something like that?


“I know. I can´t still believe it myself. But Clint swears it´s the truth.” She turned around and fix her eyes on him. “There´s something else at play Loki; I can feel it. “


“What makes you say that?” Loki inquired puzzled.


“Steve´s last orders.” Natasha volunteered dryly. “He made Clint swear we would capture the soldier alive and … unharmed.”


Loki remained silent reflecting on her words. Alive? Yes, it sounded like something Steve would say on everyday bases. But unharmed? After stabbing him? And knowing how dangerous the soldier really was? “Did he said why?” He asked her after a while.


“He didn´t had the chance.” Natasha answered disturbed. “I can´t shake the feeling that there´s something we don´t know. And I hate not knowing.” She paused as he maneuvered the jet between the city buildings. “I still have some contacts here after I drop you at the hospital I´ll see what I can find.”


“Hospital? Why didn´t you take him to the hellicarrier or a base? I´m sure SHIELD must have a base around here somewhere.”


“It wasn´t an option.” Natasha offered dryly. “We moved him to the nearest hospital. He had luck it was the European Medical Center and not some second hand clinic.”


“I understand.” Loki agreed pensively.


For a couple of minutes neither of them said a word lost on their own thoughts.


“We are almost there Loki. As soon as you get off I´m leaving.” Natasha informed him sternly.


“You are not staying?” Loki inquired surprised at her statement.


“There´s nothing I can do.” Natasha acknowledged heavily. “I´d rather find out more about this soldier … just in case.” She smirked unconvincingly; she was too worried. “Clint is waiting for you on the rooftop to take you to Steve.”


“All right.” Loki agreed while unbuckling his seat belt. “Don´t be long.” He stood up ready to leave when Natasha stopped him. “Loki …”


“Yes?” He stopped intrigued by her change of demeanor.


“Thanks for coming so fast.” She gave him a small sad smile.


“There´s nothing to thank.” Loki accepted her gratitude graciously. “He would´ve done the same for me.” As a matter of fact he had very recently ago, but that was a story he wasn´t willing to share.


“Yes, he would.” Natasha agreed whole heartedly.


As Natasha had told him Clint was already waiting for him when he disembarked.


“Thank God you are here.” Clint spat relieved the moment their eyes meet.


“How is he?” Loki inquired anxiously.


“Collapsed lung, splintered ribs, pierced liver … stomach, ruptured diaphragm … I don´t even remember the rest.” Clint volunteered distraught as he pointed Loki to the stairs. “All I really know is that they´ve given him enough blood for a gore movie production and they are still losing him.”


Loki scowled at the news but not even Clint´s grim perspective had prepared him for the scene playing in front of him when they arrived to the operating room. There was probably half a dozen people between doctor and nurses all hurryingly working over Steve´s unconscious body.


The pristine white room contrasted with all the bloody cloths, dressing and gauzes. Steve was still wearing his uniform; or at least what was left of it. His arms and chest were bare; central line IV´s connected to his arm and neck. A breathing tube lodged in his mouth. Monitors endlessly reporting any minor change on his vitals. Midgardian medicine … it played a rather grim perspective on medical care for an Asgardian. Loki´s heart cringe in horror at the scene.


“All right people, are you done? Loki is here.” Clint suddenly asked out loud.


Everyone looked up for a second; quickly they interchanged some comments before one of the doctors left Steve’s side to talk to them.


“We´ve removed all of the bone splinters and set the broken ribs back in place using titanium plates.  They´re just finishing repairing the diaphragm wall.” The doctor informed them; suddenly he turned to Loki “If I understand correctly your spell will heal any wounds on the surrounding organs, am I right?”


“True, it will heal any rupture in organs in vessels although it doesn´t set them back in place” He acknowledged sternly. “Do you need more time?”


“No, we are ready for you.” Next he turned to Clint. “You realize we´ll still have to deal with the blood loss sequels and any possible infections.”


“You made it clear before Dr. Franklin.” Clint avowed heavily. “Now if you are ready …” He pointed at the doctor’s team; they seemed to have finished.


In less than a minute everyone was gone. Loki walked towards Steve body assessing as much as he could of the damage inflicted. As far as he could see there were too large entry wounds one on Steve´s left side just below his pectoral and the other one was placed on the center of his abdomen just below the ribs. This wound seemed to be the one bleeding the most; probably because of a punctured artery.


“Do you want me to leave?” Clint asked Loki while observing Steve with a concern look upon his face.


“No, you can stay. Just be quiet” Loki volunteered as he closed his eyes summoning all his energy for the spell.


As soon as he began muttering the incantation a green light lit his aura travelling from his hands towards Steve´s body closing and healing all his wounds.


It only took a couple of minutes but for Cli9nt it seemed like an eternity.


When he finished Loki leaned exhausted into the stretcher where Steve laid.


“Are you all right?” Did it work?” Clint filled him with questions anxiously.


“See it for yourself.” Loki volunteered with a smirk. “And … I just need to rest.”


Clint was almost afraid to believe his eyes, he tentatively touched Steve´s abdomen. There was no trace of his wounds. He swiftly turned back at Loki and without any warning hugged him tightly. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” He was beyond happiness.

Loki was too surprised at his gesture to react. “Umh … it´s … all right.” He answered doubtful. “Could you release me now?” He asked feeling awkward.


“Oh! Yes, sorry. I got carried away.” Clint apologized with a big grin on his face. “For a moment I actually thought we would lose him. I´m so happy I could just kiss you.”


“I´d rather you didn´t.” Loki asseverated firmly with a frown. “I think we can call your healers back. They still have work to do.”


“You are right.” Clint agreed walking out in a hurry.


Loki watched him leave then turned to Steve; he smiled satisfied. “I promised you would be all right.” He volunteered in a whisper as he gently gave Steve´s hand a small squeeze.


It didn´t took long for Clint to come back with all the doctors and nurses. If their masks hadn´t been on Loki would´ve been able to see them smiling relieved. Hurriedly they started reading the monitors, ordering new blood units, antibiotics and all sort of complicated studies neither Loki or Clint understood.


“Let´s let them work.” Clint suggested firmly.


Loki stood undecided for a moment. He didn´t wanted to leave.


Noticing Clint reassured him. “I asked them to call us one he´s in the recuperation room. Plus; you look like you could use something to eat.”


Clint was right; he felt spent. According to Dr. Banner his spells; especially the more complicated ones consumed enormous amounts of energy; which needed to be replenish as soon as possible. Resting was advisable but the fastest way to get his energies back was eating. Experience and his own particular predilections made Midgardian desserts his best choice.

“All right.” He finally agreed. There was nothing much they could do except watching the doctors work besides he wanted to speak to Clint alone.

Russian Winters

A week had gone by inadvertently since they had been left alone in the mansion. Everyone else still out on missions.


They had talks about everything; between other things. It was almost as If they were on vacations. Oblivious to everything but each other until one afternoon as Loki walked idle through Tony´s lab while Tony worked on some modifications for a new suit.


“Do you think they are all right?” He suddenly asked while absentmindedly running his fingers over a night-vision prototype helmet for Steve.


Tony looked up puzzled at the unusual question catching a glimpse of Loki´s concerned features. “Of course they are. They would´ve called us if something had gone wrong.”


“I guess you are right.” Loki shrugged his shoulders, he was right but for some reason he couldn´t shake an uneasy sensation growing on his stomach.


Tony stopped working and walked towards him worried. “What´s wrong love?” He embraced Loki by his waist.


“I don´t know. It´s probably nothing.” Loki volunteered still troubled.


“Is this about Steve?” Tony inquired trying not to sound jealous. “Do you miss him?”


Loki snorted lightly. “Are you jealous?”


Tony turned him around. “You did kiss him.”


Loki rolled his eyes. “I wondered how long it would take for you to bring that up. It was nothing.”


“That´s not what I meant. I know you don´t love him.” Tony acknowledged dryly. “Not that way at least.”


“Of course not.” Loki agreed swiftly.


“But …” Tony continued. “He was there for you when I wasn´t … it must have meant something.”


“He´s just a friend.” Loki volunteered; suddenly realizing what he had just said. He stayed silent for a moment thinking; changing his tone he added. “He is a good friend; probably the best I have.”


“I know; better than most.” Tony agreed wholeheartedly; he had already forgiven Steve´s indiscretion.


Out of sudden Loki´s expression turned to a worried one again. “I never realized he was so …lonely.”


“Neither did I.” Tony confessed. “I guess we all assume he could handle it; he´s Captain America after all.”


“You should talk to him when he comes back, you know? He could use a friend and … I´m not sure he´ll want me around. Not after all that happened.” Loki added conflicted.


“Of course he will.” Tony asseverated trying to cheer Loki up. “He´s better than both of us put together; you´ll see.”


As Loki didn´t showed any sign of believing him he shamelessly added. “We could try setting him up.”


Loki raised his head alarmed. “Don´t you even dare!” Pensively looking down he added. “He´d probably hate that … although … you might be right about that … he needs someone.”


“To fill the void.” Tony suggested in deep thought.


“You noticed, didn´t you?” Loki inquired glad he wasn´t the only one to see it.


“Yes.” He nodded his head affirmatively. “If you pay attention … it´s not hard to see.”


Suddenly they were interrupted by Jarvis. “Emergency call from Mr. Barton Sir.”


Tony frowned upset. What could´ve happened? “Patch him through.” He ordered sternly.


“How fast can Loki get to Moscow? Without teleporting.” Clint inquired anxiously. He looked like he had just walked out of a war zone. Filth and mud everywhere.


“Five hours in a Quinjet, maybe four.” Tony volunteered while doing the math on his head.


“He doesn´t have that long …” He mumbled as he frowned distraught. “Isn´t there other way? A faster one?” Suddenly he lost his temper. “Why didn´t he waited for me?”


Loki frowned while watching Clint attentively. Why was he …? Suddenly he noticed; it wasn’t mud. “Who?” He asked loudly; fully aware of the gravity of the situation.


Clint huffed upset while scowling. “Steve.”


“How bad?” Loki asked dryly as his heart pounded on his chest. No teleportation, that alone should´ve alerted him.


“Bad.” Clint answered down casted. “The doctors don´t think he´ll make it. He´s losing blood faster than they can patch him up…” He suddenly looked up in despair. “You need to help him.”


To heal him, that´s why Clint had said without teleportation. He knew that without the Teseract or some other artifact a spell like that would use too much energy. Even if he arrived in seconds it wouldn´t help at all. Healing spells were complicated; he needed most of his energies to perform them.


“Jarvis, display my research on lay lines on the screen.” Loki ordered sternly. “Close in the Eastern Europe region.” He swiftly screened the map. “There …” He pointed to a spot where the lines crossed. “Where is that?”


“Kutaisi, Georgia.” Was Jarvis swift reply.


“How fast can you pick me up there?” Loki asked Clint with decision.


“Fifteen minutes …” Clint answered astonished, there might be hope after all.


“Make it ten.” Loki demanded resolute.


“I´ll send Natasha.” Was Clint swift reply. “Don´t be late.” He pleaded grimly before cutting the communication.


“Tony take me to Bimini now!” Loki snap at Tony who was still too shocked at the news to react.


“But … what?” Tony frowned confused while pointing to the map that still was on the screen.


“I´ll explain you in the Jet.” Loki volunteered swiftly grabbing Tony´s hand and hurriedly pulling him to the lab´s exit.


“Loki what are we doing?” Tony asked while boarding the jet.


“I can´t teleport so I´m going to use your planets energy paths to travel as near as I can to Moscow.” Loki volunteered nonchalant.


“Have you ever done this before? Is it safe?” Tony inquired worryingly as he buckled his seatbelt and lighted the aircraft.


“I don´t know.” Loki replied doubtful. “It should be.”


“You can´t do that! You are barely getting your strength back … there´s got to be another way …” Tony spat taking his eyes of the control panel.


“I´m not losing him!” Loki yelled furiously. “I´m not … I´m just … not.” He frowned angered with his arms crossed while looking away.


Tony glanced at Loki surprised, next he looked ahead in contemplation. After a few moments he agreed. “You are right. We can´t lose him … not without a fight at least. Explain me again, what´s the plan?”


Loki sighed relieved. “Thanks” He volunteered softly before explaining Tony the fundaments of the spell he was going to use. If everything worked as plan he should be transported from one energy vortex to the other, the spell was fairly simple and shouldn´t use too much of his energy. “I can´t take you with me.” He heavily informed him.


“It would take too much energy.” Tony realized grimly.


“Yes.” Loki agreed disgruntled.


“I´ll take the long route then.” Tony offered calmly. “It will take me a couple of hours but I´ll join you there. Just … don´t overdo it.”


“Are you worried about me?” Loki asked playfully. It was a nice change … to know he cared.


“Always love.” Tony answered winking an eye at him. “Get ready, we are almost there. I know cold doesn´t affect you but see if you can find a jacket back there. It´s winter over there; it should help you blend in.”


Loki unbuckled his seat as he searched the supplies. Luckily he found a jacket that looked about his size, he wondered who did it belonged to for a moment before putting it on; it almost fitted perfectly. Suddenly he realized; it had to be Steve´s. He closed his eyes pained for a moment as the familiar scent enveloped him. “I won´t be long.” He mentally promised. “I won´t let you die.” With a sigh he returned to the cockpit.


Tony looked up at him when he returned, he recognized the jacket immediately. “Isn´t that …?”


“It was the only one I could find …” Loki answered with discomfort. “I can leave it if you want. I really don´t need it.”


“No … it´s all right. You are about the same height; it fits you well.” Tony acknowledged conflicted. “It´s only a jacket” He reminded himself mentally. Loki had picked him and not Steve, he shouldn´t forget that.  He turned to watch Loki, he looked worried. “He´ll be all right. You´ll see. Clint is probably just overreacting.”


“I don’t think he is.” Loki volunteered dryly.


“I know.” Tony agreed, he wouldn´t overreact about something like that. For a moment the aircraft was completely silent.


“We ow him.” Loki acknowledge suddenly. He had help them be together again, they couldn´t just … walk away. They had to do something.


“I know.” Tony admitted as he landed in the coordinates Loki had given him. The energy vortex was nearby.


“Keep me posted.” Tony asked Loki as he zipped the jacket up before kissing him softly. “And take care.” He hated letting him go; but he knew it was necessary.


“I will.” Loki asserted before kissing him back. “Everything will be all right.” With that he disappears into a flash of light.


“I surely hope so.” Tony asseverated out loud. Next he hurriedly went back to the Quinjet, he had to get back to the mansion. On his way back he instructed Jarvis with the last details of one of the new suits, one specially designed to withstand beyond cero degrees’ temperatures. “Russian winters.” He mumbled upset before suiting up and flying away.

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