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 “Come, Master. It is time.” A black hooded robed figure said.

 Harry nodded and, after checking to make sure he had everything he wanted and/or needed, he took the skeletal hand of Death and together they vanished from the dying world. They appeared in a park during, what looked to be a really nasty invasion of strange looking aliens coming in through a portal in the sky near one of the tallest buildings he’d ever seen and he felt the urgency coming from his ‘servant’.

 “Go.” He said. “Attend your duties.” And, with that Death left his side to do its job.


2 Years Later

 In the two weeks since the fall of SHIELD, Bucky visited the World War 2 exhibit in the Smithsonian and studied his own monument, trying hard to remember who he had been, but every time he had even a flicker of a memory, all he saw was desperate blue eyes and a feeling of intense cold. Then the headache started, which was more like a migraine and he wanted to cry from the pain. He doesn’t even remember leaving the Smithsonian, never mind arriving at the clinic. All he knew was that it was blessedly dim.

 The hands that guided him to a soft, cushioned chair were thin and had a strength to them that belied the delicate feeling fingers. He got a brief glimpse of emerald green eyes and dark (maybe black?) hair before he passed out.


A Year and a half later

 “James, I’m home!” Hadrian called out, closing the door with his foot, his hands full of bags.

“In the kitchen.” Came the response.

 As Hadrian made his way to the kitchen, he heard two strange voices talking with James. He avoided looking at anyone as he set the bags on the counter. He heard someone get up and walk over. He could tell it was James by scent, as he took the contents of the bags and set them on the counter, still not looking at anyone or even saying anything. James had automatically started putting things away.

 “Uh, Bucky?”

 James turned to his friend and gave him a look that promised a later explanation. When he turned back it was to see Hadrian staring down at the counter, the empty bags collapsed.

 “Andy? What’s wrong?” Hadrian continued to stare at the counter as he shook his head. “Hey, look at me.” James said gently, turning the raven haired man around so that James was facing the other two men at the table and Hadrian’s back was to them. Hadrian quickly wiped his face and then looked up into James’ pale blue eyes.

 “I’ve, um, I’ve decided to leave the clinic.” He said quietly. His normally bright green eyes darkened with sorrow.

 “What? Why?”

 “I can’t.” he replied, darting a quick look to the two men seated at their kitchen table. “I can’t do it anymore.” And then he left the kitchen with James looking torn.

 “Go. Steve and I will wait.” Coulson said, giving James a sympathetic look. Whereas Steve just looked confused.

 When James tracked Hadrian down, the raven was lying face down on their bed with his face buried in a pillow as silent sobs shook his thin frame. James sat down beside him and started to rub his shaking back. It didn’t take Hadrian long to stop crying and sit up.

 “You ready to tell me what’s goin’ on, sweetheart?” James asked, handing his lover some tissues. Hadrian wormed his way under James’ flesh arm and put his arm around James’ waist. As James pulled him into a hug, he started.

 “You remember the boy that came into the clinic a few days ago?”

 “The one that looked like he’d gone ten rounds with Battlin’ Jack Murdock?” Hadrian nodded and said “A couple of homicide detectives came in today to look at his file. I knew he was dead just by the way they asked, but I was still obligated to tell them about patient confidentiality and that’s when they confirmed that he had died. Naturally they couldn’t give me any details, but I can guess. I’m thinking that it was the father that did it, but they told me not to go anywhere, as they might have some more questions and will probably call on me for court.” He fell silent as he turned his face into James’ chest and inhaled the clean, alive smell of his larger lover.

 James just sat there holding Hadrian and stroking his smooth, black hair comfortingly for a few minutes. “Come on, Nebol’šoj Finiks, there’s a couple of guys downstairs that I want you to meet.” James said, standing up.

 Hadrian nodded and got to his feet. “I’ll meet you downstairs in a minute. I just want to wash up a little first.” James nodded and headed back to the kitchen. The two men at the table looked at him as he came in.

 “Everything alright, Bucky?” Steve asked concern clear in his blue eyes, as James resumed his seat.

 “Everything’s fine, Stevie. He just had a bad day is all.” James explained. "So, Coulson, you were sayin' somethin' 'bout wantin' me to join both the Avengers and SHIELD?"

 Coulson nodded. "You'll be teamed primarily with one of three people at SHIELD. You're already really well trained, so it's just a matter of keeping up that training. Ground side SHIELD HQ is in New York, so you'll have to move there. Stark has already set aside a floor for you at the Tower."

 "Unless you want to share my floor." Steve said hopefully. His eagerness to resume their previous relationship clear in his bright blue eyes.

 James was just about to answer when Hadrian entered the kitchen, wearing a pair of worn jeans and nothing else except his glamour that covered the scars on both chest and back. James gave him an appreciative look and asked if he wanted some tea or coffee. When his dark-haired minx replied in the negative, James pulled him down onto his lap and looked at the other two men at the table.

 "You going to introduce us or make me guess, luv?" Hadrian asked, curious as to who the thin man was. He had recognized Steve from the pictures that James had found from before and during the war as well as the exhibit.

 "Steve, Coulson, this is Doctor Hadrian Black. Andy, this is Agent Phil Coulson of SHIELD and, of course you recognize this blond punk from the pics and stories I told you about."

 "A pleasure to meet you, Doctor." Phil said with his usual calm politeness. His eyes, on the other hand, were watching the raven haired doctor, sharp and calculating. Noting the way that Hadrian was absently playing with James' metal fingers as they rested around his waist.

 "So, you're the one who captured my best friend's heart." Steve said, a hint of jealousy in his voice, his eyes issuing a challenge to Hadrian.

 "That's right." Hadrian replied distractedly, not looking seeing the challenge. His mind still dwelling on the dead child.

 Coulson, who did not miss the challenging gaze, cleared his throat. "Think about the offer, Barnes. Talk it over with the good doctor and when you decide, one way or the other, you know how to get in touch with us." And with that, Coulson got up and prepared to leave. "You coming, Captain?"

 Steve nodded and got up, as did James and Hadrian.

“It was a pleasure to meet you both.” Hadrian said, shaking Coulson’s hand. When he shook Steve’s hand, Steve held on a little longer and squeezed Hadrian’s hand hard enough to make most men wince a little in pain. He was a little surprised when all Hadrian did was give him a pleasant smile, no hint of pain in the eyes that were as hard as the gems they resembled.

 "We'll talk later, Bucky?" Steve asked, letting go of the doctor's hand and moved to hug his friend.

 "Yeah. I'll give you a call tomorrow." James replied, sliding his arm around Hadrian's waist as the two men watched their guests leave.

 As soon as the door closed, Hadrian turned around, slid his arms around James' waist and buried his face in his chest.

 "He loves you, you know." Hadrian murmured.

 James gave his partner a cocky smile. "'Course he does. That's part 'n' parcel of being best friends. So, what do you want for dinner?"