In the aftermath of the Battle of New York, Police Commissioner Frank Reagan was still having a tough time believing it. His ma had called him and insisted she was right (Pop had insisted in the background that his mother was getting dotty in her old age) but as he watched the videos he was hard pressed not to believe. Stunningly, unbelievably, it looked like Steve Rogers was alive.
Steve was dusty and disheveled from helping city crews removed the damage and debris left over from the battle. He trudged up to his apartment building, automatically noting the black SUV parked in front before he stopped short at the man standing on the sidewalk out front. The man noticed him at the same time and straightened up, as tall as Steve but older (well, biologically anyway), dark hair, mustache, wearing a nice suit, distinguished and vaguely familiar to Steve.
“Uh, hi. Can I help you?”
The man held out his hand. “Captain Rogers, I’m Police Commissioner Frank Reagan.”
Steve automatically shook his hand, his mind going a mile a minute. “Call me Steve, please. What can I do for you, Commissioner?”
The man smiled, “Call me Frank. Do you mind if we go in? You look like you’d like to clean up.”
Steve turned and went up the steps, aware that the commissioner was on his heels. He gave a distracted hello to his neighbor before unlocking his door and going inside. He went to drop his things by the laundry hamper before turning to the man standing in his living room.
“Okay, as far as I know I haven’t broken the law yet,” he challenged.
The older man smiled and dipped his head. “I know this is strange but let me explain. My mother is Rebecca Barnes Reagan.”
Stunned, Steve stared before he blurted, “Becca married that punk Henry Reagan?” He remembered the black Irish kid that had been sniffing around Bucky’s sister’s skirts before he and Bucky had left for the war. He was pretty sure Bucky had read him the riot act about treating his sister with respect.
Laughing, the man suddenly resembled people that Steve remembered. “Hey now, that’s my pop we’re talking about.”
“Sorry,” Steve apologized, then grinned. “You musta got your height from his da. They’re still here?”
Frank nodded. “Still kicking. I was going to ask if you’d like to go and see her. Mom’s ordered me to bring you over but don’t feel obligated.”
Steve yanked his dirty t-shirt over his head and dumped it on the floor. “Give me 5 minutes for a shower and we can head out.”
Frank turned slightly, the younger (older?) man tickling his funny bone as he stripped right there in front of him. Can’t take the military out of the boy. “I’ll even give you ten.”
In the SUV Steve ignored how Frank’s driver kept shooting him looks in the rear- view mirror. “Where do they live?”
Frank settled back after shooting the kid in front a look to mind his own business. “Still in Brooklyn. Mom and pop live with me, in the same house pop bought after the War. He joined the Marines after you and Uncle Bucky left. She wouldn’t marry him until he came back.”
Steve laughed. “Oh, she was like her ma. Independent to the point of being bull-headed. You shoulda heard how Mr. Barnes would complain that the women wore the pants in the family.”
It was hard to reconcile this young man with the strong Brooklyn accent to the same man who had known his grandparents personally. Frank had a million questions.
They arrived at brownstone and at the top of the stairs stood an elderly woman with short, curly white hair and deep laugh lines held out her arms and Steve bounded up to her and enfolded her in a tight hug.
“I’m so sorry, I lost him,” Steve sobbed into Frank’s mother’s shoulder, almost bent in half, blonde head against her own wet, wrinkled cheek. Frank’s eyes burned slightly as his mother hushed the younger (older) man, hugging him just as tightly. His dad was at a doctor’s appointment and had no idea Steve was there.
After a few minutes Rebecca Barnes Reagan pushed Steve back and he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his eyes and blow his nose.
“You’re an idiot, Steven Grant Rogers. We never blamed you.”
Steve laughed a little thickly. “~I~ blamed me.”
Rebecca rolled her eyes “Of course you did, Saint Steven. You never did see a burden that you didn’t want to hoist on your own skinny shoulders.”
“Hey!” Steve complained but grinned when she punched him in the shoulder.
She pretended to shake her hand, “What did that science experiment do to you, Stevie?” She led him over into the living room and Frank followed them quietly. He was fascinated by the dynamic of the two contemporaries. His mom was beaming and he couldn’t wait to poke his dad about her being right.
“I heal pretty quick now,” Steve said, a little bashfully. “No more asthma or pneumonia every fall and winter.”
Frank had grown up with stories of how his uncle Bucky had worried himself sick whenever Steve had gotten sick, to the extent that the local priest had been called for last rites more than once.
Rebecca looked over at her son. “Well, what do you think?”
Her son smirked. “He asked me if you’d married that punk, Henry Reagan.”
Blushing, Steve accepted the second whack from Rebecca with a laugh. “Hey, we didn’t think he was good enough for ya.”
“I’ll have you know he served over in the Pacific during the war. He was on Tarawa and almost got his fool head blown off by a kamikaze but made it home. Then he joined the police department after the war,” she said tartly.
Steve looked over at Frank with a grin. “An Irish cop, what do ya know.”
“It’s a tradition,” Frank agreed comfortably.
Steve’s phone buzzed and he pulled it out of his pocket to look at it in annoyance. “I’m so sorry, I have to go,” he said, reaching over to grab Becca’s hand in apology.
Frank got to his feet but Steve waved him off. “I’ve got a ride, they’re waiting for me outside.”
Rebecca got to her feet as well and pulled Steve in for a hug. “You will eat Sunday dinner with us. One o’clock, don’t be late mister.”
Pressing a kiss to her cheek, Steve smiled, “I’d be honored. I’ll see you Sunday!” He left in a rush, looking more cheerful than he had.
Frank smiled fondly at his mother. “Well, you know I’ll be there. I’ll make sure Linda knows we’re going to have company.”
“Don’t tell anyone who,” Rebecca ordered with a mischievous smile. “I want it to be a surprise. Make sure you get the albums out after church for me.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Frank said, giving her a good-bye kiss. Once in his SUV he sighed and wondered again at how the world was changing.
“Everything okay, sir?” his driver asked as they pulled out.
“Fine. Did Captain Rogers get his ride?”
“Yes, sir. A black Maserati pulled up. I wouldn’t swear to it but I think it was the Black Widow driving.”
Frank hummed thoughtfully. He had a lot to think about.
Natasha glanced over and was pleasantly surprised to see how bright Steve looked. “What were you doing there?” she asked, her hands firm on the steering wheel as she steered through afternoon traffic.
“Visiting some old friends,” Steve said. “Where are we going?”
An obvious change of subject but Natasha accepted it gracefully, for now. “A little clean up. There are some Chitauri weapons that need to be collected.”
“SHIELD couldn’t do it?” he asked peevishly.
Now Natasha was surprised. “We are SHIELD.”
“As long as I’m off on Sunday,” Steve retorted firmly. He wasn’t going to disappoint Becca again.
“I think that should be fine,” she replied, her mind already buzzing. She needed to do some snooping.
The Avengers were seated around the table, minus Thor as he was back on Asgard. Nick was reading something on his padd while he waited for Stark to arrive. He observed the group, his attention going back to Rogers as the young man fiddled with his pen. Romanov had said she was looking into the ‘friends’ that Rogers had visited but he was awaiting the report.
Stark swept in, only slightly grease covered which was a miracle.
“Hey, Capsicle! How do you know the Commish? Inquiring minds want to know.” Tony flopped into a chair across from the younger man, waggling his eyebrows.
Everyone looked at Steve who sighed and rolled his eyes. “The Reagans are old family friends. Bucky’s sister married Henry Reagan after the war and the current commissioner is her son. I was visiting Becca. Not that it’s anybody’s business,” he finished firmly.
Nick was very interested, but he was wary of using the connection. He needed to stay on the police commissioner’s good side because he believed that the attack by the Chitauri and Loki was just the tip of the iceberg. Help from the local police made his job that much easier.
“Can you get my traffic tickets deep sixed?” Tony asked with a grin.
“NO.” Steve replied flatly, but his slight smile indicated that he knew Tony was yanking his chain.
Nick cleared his throat. “Let’s get down to business, shall we?”
Sunday found most of the Reagan clan in the house, Frank sitting at the kitchen table with his father while Linda and his mother fussing over the meal. Frank turned the page of the newspaper he was hiding behind, ignoring the glare from his father. His father hated not being in the loop and their mystery guest was driving him around the bend.
Running feet made mom holler about running in the house and Henry hid an automatic wince at his wife’s yell.
“Sorry Grandma!” Danny’s kids cheerfully called back.
“So, dad.” Jamie smirked at his father, wincing as Linda smacked his fingers for stealing a carrot off of one of the plates that had been carefully arranged. “Is it a new girlfriend?”
“Nope,” Frank replied. He flipped his paper again.
“You might as well stop trying,” Danny complained. “Don’t you think I’ve already asked?”
“Yeah,” Jamie smiled at Danny, “but I’m cuter.”
Linda burst out into laughter as Danny went after his brother, adding to the noise and chaos. Erin rolled her eyes as her brothers mock wrestled.
“Hey!” Mom snapped. “Take your roughhousing outdoors!” she scolded but then smiled as the doorbell rang.
“Frank, please get the door,” she ordered and he obediently hauled himself to his feet, aware that his dad was on his heels.
“I’ve got it,” he said, and threw a look over his shoulder at the family. “Don’t crowd me,” he ordered and went to let their guest in.
Steve hovered nervously on the front porch, flowers in his hand. He was in a dark blue button down and khaki slacks and still had his leather jacket on for the ride on his motorcycle. He didn’t realize his hair was slightly ruffled from the ride over.
The door opened and Frank Reagan smiled, “Hey Steve, come on in.”
Stepping inside, Steve was immediately struck by the amount of people in the house, all peering curiously into the entryway.
“Steve!” Becca pushed through and came up for a hug and a kiss. She accepted the flowers, smacking him slightly and making him laugh. “Henry, take Stevie's jacket,” she ordered.
Steve slipped out of his jacket and held out his hand. “Hi, Steve Rogers,” he said, tongue in cheek.
Henry shot his wife a look before taking the proffered hand. “Don’t be a punk, Rogers.” Steve laughed and yanked the older man into a quick hug.
This started a round of introductions, the awestruck kids, young and old alike welcoming him into the dining room.
Frank sat Steve between his grandmother and his son Jamie. Erin, Nicky, Linda and Danny were bringing dishes to the table while Steve and his mom caught up since they’d seen each other on the previous Tuesday.
“It looks great,” Steve praised and Becca beamed at him.
“It’s Ma’s roast lamb recipe, though you know during the depression no one could even afford a piece of mutton, much less a leg of lamb. “
“Beans,” Steve agreed sagely and he and Becca completed, “For breakfast, lunch and oh boy, for dinner.” Henry snorted a laugh, shaking his head at what was obviously an inside old people joke.
Once everyone was seated, Henry looked at Steve. “Would you say grace, Steve?”
Steve looked uncomfortable but nodded seriously. Becca put her hand on his and he closed his eyes. “Bless us O God as we sit together. Bless the food we eat today, Bless the hands that made the food, Bless us O God, Amen.”
“Ah, I hadn’t heard that one in many a year,” Becca said, smiling at the memory.
“That’s what ma always prayed,” he said with a responding smile, both of them lost in memories of days past.
Henry cleared his throat and started passing dishes. “So Steve, the announcement that you were alive after all of these years was met with some skepticism. It was decided that they’d found some shmuck to pull off a con.”
Frank wanted to groan but Henry yelped because his mother had apparently kicked him beneath the table.
Steve smothered a smile as he ladled gravy over the mound of steaming potatoes on his plate. “Yeah, I get that a lot. To be honest, I’m just as surprised as everyone else.”
Danny’s son Jack, all of eleven and proud of it, asked, “Mr. Rogers, did you really punch Hitler?”
The adults at the table laughed and Steve smiled at Jack. “Call me Steve, please. No, it was an actor when I did the USO tour. But I did punch the Red Skull.”
Becca smiled. “Speaking of the USO. Bucky sent a bunch of stuff he collected about your USO shows. I have them in an album. It was a surprise to see you all big when you were such a little thing.”
Steve wrinkled his nose. “You don’t appreciate my pain. It was terrible, Becca. But the showgirls were nice.”
Frank smirked at his pop and he wiped his mustache with his napkin. Henry had been sure that Steve was an imposter, and this was showing the older man that he’d been wrong.
“So, what does everyone do?” Steve asked, feeling a little like an animal in the zoo. He took another bite of the delicious roast leg of lamb that Linda and Becca had cooked.
“Pop is a retired police commissioner, Danny is a detective, Linda is a nurse, Jamie is a lawyer turned beat cop,” Frank said, pointing in turn, “Erin is a lawyer, and everyone else is supposed to be in school.” He gave the grandkids a look over his glasses, making them giggle and protest that they weren’t skipping.
“Are you named after Bucky?” Steve asked Jamie. He could see a little of his friend in this man who was the same age, but separated by generations.
Jamie looked at his dad and Frank nodded. “Well, he’s named after my brother, who was named after Bucky.”
“James died in the Army too,” Henry said evenly. “Vietnam.”
Steve looked down at his plate. “I’m so very sorry. We thought that we were fighting the war to end all wars.”
“What have I told you about taking everyone’s burdens, Saint Steven?” Becca snapped. Steve looked at her like a startled deer and flushed slightly at her words.
“Uncle Joe died too,” Nicky said.
Steve looked at Frank who elaborated. “Joey was my son who died in the line of duty.”
“We’ve lost one in every generation,” Becca said softly. She smiled as Steve put a hand over hers on the table, their shared pain clear on their faces.
Danny huffed out a breath, “Well, now I’m depressed. I’m getting more rolls outta the kitchen.”
Rolling his eyes, Jamie got up and grabbed the almost empty bowl of green beans and followed Danny. “Gran, do you want more wine?” he asked.
“Please, Jamie darling,” Becca replied.
In the kitchen Danny huffed out a breath and shook his head at Jamie. “Get a load of that guy. He’s unreal.”
Jamie shrugged as he snagged the bottle of red that sat on the counter. “I can’t even imagine what he’s going through. He’s lost everyone, Danny. Yeah, we’ve lost family and it’s been terrible, but he lost ~everyone~ he knew. And he’s my age, well, sort of.” He felt like there was a noticeable haze of grief around Steve Rogers.
Danny snorted and dumped the rest of the rolls in the basket. “Yeah, okay,” he muttered before going back in. Jamie took a breath and followed.
Over dessert, which was a peach tart with whipped cream that Steve loved, Nicky looked over at Steve a bit hesitantly. “Steve, can I ask a question?”
Steve stopped trying to see if there was any more whipped cream on his plate. “Okay,” he said encouragingly.
“How did you meet grandma Becca?”
“I was there when she was born,” he said, shooting her a mischievous smile.
Becca smiled at the memory. “I like this story.”
Steve chuckled. “So, Mrs. Barnes was in labor and most babies weren’t born in hospitals then, so she sent Bucky over to get my ma who was a nurse. We all trooped back and ma went in to check on her and Bucky and I stayed in the kitchen waiting for Mr. Barnes who was at a union meeting. Apparently she’d been in labor all day and didn’t know it and soon after we got there Becca was born. Ma had Bucky and me get sheets and towels and boil some water and when we got to go in Becca was in ma’s hands and Bucky toppled over in a dead faint.”
“Bucky fainted?” Frank asked in surprise.
“Like a redwood tree, boom!” Steve confirmed gleefully. “Ma, she just shook her head, made me sit on a chair and handed me Becca.” He smiled fondly at the 87 year old. “She was screaming her head off but ma said she was healthy as a horse, just tiny. ”
“Well, to be fair I was early,” she responded.
“And late to everything else,” Steve replied by rote, echoed by Henry and obviously something they’d said many times before. The rest of the family cracked up.
Becca laughed and shoved Steve’s arm. “I hated when Bucky said that!”
“Shoulda been on time once in awhile, shouldn’t ya?” he teased.
Frank snorted because the mother he knew was fiercely efficient but thought time bent to her will.
Steve found the family Sunday dinner invitation was open ended and often he’d end up there if he didn’t have a mission. He slowly became friends with Danny, Erin and Jamie and won Henry over as he and Steve had in depth conversations about the war. He had a family again and he was grateful every day.
Chapter 2: 2
Jamie leaned cautiously around the corner of a building as he watched a guy pistol whip another man, and he wanted to do something but his training officer Sgt. Renzulli had ordered him to stay put while he went around to the other end of the alley.
A quiet, “What’s up?” from behind him nearly made Jamie levitate but Steve’s familiar grin made him sigh.
“What are you doing here?”
Steve shrugged, “I was jogging by and I saw you.”
Jamie rolled his eyes. “Waiting for my training officer to signal me to stop this guy from beating the crap out of his buddy.”
Steve leaned around the corner, then back. He looked around and took the metal top off of the trash can sitting there, then stepped into the mouth of the alley. “Hey, ugly!” he shouted.
The guy stopped and sneered, “You talking to me?” The guy he’d been beating limp in his grasp.
Steve shrugged. “You’re the only ugly guy I see.”
“Fuck you!” the guy shouted.
By this time Steve was tired of the witty repartee and he winged the trash can top, catching the guy in the chin and knocking him off of his feet, unconscious before he hit the ground. He immediately went to the guy who been getting beat up.
Jamie shook his head at Steve and put away his gun, trotting into the alley to pull his cuffs. His training officer came puffing around the corner and in the distance they could hear sirens.
Stopping in surprise, he glared at Jamie. “What in the hell happened? I told ya to wait.” Their suspect was out cold, gun on the ground beside him, lying somewhat unfortunately, in muddy, oily water.
Jamie jerked his head at Steve who was helping their victim groggily sit up. “We had help.”
Sgt. Renzulli impartially shared his glare with Steve, “What are you doing in the middle of this?”
Steve shrugged, “I hate bullies.”
Jamie could tell when the penny dropped and had to stifle a laugh at Sgt. Renzulli’s face.
“Well,” Renzulli sputtered for a second before pointing at Jamie, “It’s not how we do things, understand?”
“Yes, Sergeant,” Jamie replied dutifully. Steve smirked, threw a smart-ass salute his way and headed off on his run while Renzulli bitched about how weird their report was going to look.
“See you Sunday, Jamie!” Steve’s cheerful voice floated back and Jamie sighed.
“What does he mean by that?” Renzulli demanded.
Jamie sighed as the ambulance disgorged their medics. “We’re dating,” he said facetiously.
“Very funny, Reagan.”
Steve sighed. Fury tilted his head in question. “I thought you were fine moving to D.C.?”
“That was before when I thought I had no one here. Now I have family here and I don’t want to give that up,” Steve replied firmly.
Fury pressed his lips together in thought. “How about a month. I need a second set of eyes on the Strike Teams program in Washington.”
“What about Natasha?”
Fury rolled his eye. “She hates Washington D.C. Too many politicians.”
Steve smirked. He totally understood the sentiment. “I can’t right now because Becca’s birthday is coming up and I promised Sean that I would help with his history project. Can we push it back a month and then I’ll go.”
“Done,” Fury agreed. “A month won’t change anything.”
Chapter 3: 3
A tap to her door frame made Erin glance up, fighting a sigh when she saw her ex-husband standing in the doorway.
“Jack, what a surprise. Are you going to see Nicky?” Nicky hadn’t seen her father in more than six months, but at this point she was resigned to the fact that her father was a jerk, which broke Erin’s heart.
The irritated glare he shot her warmed the cockles of her heart. “I wanted to get together with you to discuss the Landers case.”
Erin leaned back in her chair and eyed the jerk. “The Landers case,” she parroted dryly. The Landers case was just beginning and she was sure that there was corruption in Police Plaza and she wondered how he’d heard about it. “No.”
Jack blinked at her in shock for a moment. “Erin,” he began, using his, ‘I’m going to disregard your little temper tantrum’ voice.
“No, Jack. I will not ‘discuss’ this particular case with you. Beat it.”
She mildly enjoyed the way his face turned red and really wondered what the hell she’d seen in him, though she was grateful every day for Nicky.
“C’mon, Erin. You know we’re so good together,” he wheedled, turning on the charm when she saw a glimpse of blond hair behind Jack and she almost laughed when Steve gently maneuvered Jack out of the way with a bland smile.
“Hey, honey,” Steve said, coming over to press a kiss to her cheek before looking at Jack challengingly as he straightened up beside her, muscled arms crossed challengingly over his chest.
Erin wanted to laugh, but she smiled sweetly at Steve, “Hey, babe. What a sweet surprise. Why are you here?” She could tell that her self-absorbed ex-husband didn’t recognize Steve as Captain America though to be fair he was hardly photographed without his suit.
“Are you seeing this musclehead?” Jack asked incredulously.
Steve smirked as Erin sighed. “Jack, my answer was no. Please go bother someone else. And it would be nice if you called your daughter.”
This made Steve narrow his eyes, “This loser is Nicky’s dad? Wow, honey. Good thing she takes after you.”
Jack snarled and stomped away.
Steve smirked and went over to quietly closed her office door before turning to shoot her a big grin. “That was fun!”
Erin broke down and giggled helplessly. Steve sat in the chair across from her and smiled as she got herself under control. “Better?” he asked teasingly.
“That was worth the price of admission,” she said, carefully wiping laugh tears from her eyes so she didn’t smear her mascara.
“Hey, it’s pretty neat when someone doesn’t realize who I am. I wasn’t sure it would work but I could tell he wasn’t wanted,” Steve said with a deprecating shrug.
Remembering what he wanted, Erin’s face became grim and she jotted a note down to remind her to speak with the relevant people about the Landers case. “Yeah, no kidding,” she muttered before looking back at Steve. “Why ~are~ you here? Because not that I don’t like you, we usually trip over each other on Sunday.”
Steve laughed at the reminder of the previous Sunday where he’d been playing a board game with the boys, stretched out on the floor and Erin had tripped over his legs. He’d rolled over quickly and caught her before she’d hit the floor in a feat of athleticism that still surprised her. Sean and Jack had laughed at their aunt’s clumsiness, much to her chagrined amusement.
“I was going to speak to Sean’s class and Nicky asked me to speak to hers as well. I wanted to make sure you’re okay with that,” he explained. “We’re going to make it look like their teachers planned it rather than the kids. Just to avoid a lot of issues.”
Erin leaned back in her chair. “Are you wearing your uniform?”
“Ha. No,” Steve said, “But I’ll bring my shield.”
Wistfully Erin wished that Jack was as involved with Nicky as Steve had become, or her dad was. Thank God Nicky was well adjusted.
“I think it’s very nice of you. I don’t have any problems with it.”
Steve smiled and got to his feet. “Great. I’m off to see your dad. Have a good day, ‘honey’.”
“Thanks, ‘Babe’,” she replied with an eyeroll and smiled affectionately as he grinned and left.
Chapter 4: 4
There was a knock at Frank’s door and he huffed a little to be interrupted but was grateful as well. He’d been buried in paperwork hell the entire morning. “Enter!” he barked.
“Holy smoke,” Steve said, poking his head in. “You sounded just like Colonel Phillips.” He carried a greasy bag and Frank smiled.
“Steve, come in. What are you doing here?” he asked his favorite Avenger.
Steve sheepishly held up the bag. “Pastrami on rye?”
“Don’t tell anyone,” Frank said as he moved stuff around on his desk and making grabby hands for the bag. “But you’re my favorite.”
“Sure,” Steve laughed, pulling out a huge sandwich and a pickle and handing it over. He pulled a couple of bottled waters from an inner pocket of his leather jacket before sliding it off and dumping it on the other chair. His red t-shirt had a cartoon version of Iron man on it and it was stretched tightly over his chest and biceps, and Frank idly wondered who picked Steve’s clothes for him.
The office was quiet as they dug into their sandwiches when the door banged open and Ed came in before stopping abruptly when he caught that Frank had company.
“Sorry, sorry! I was just…”
“Is it important, Ed?” Frank asked with exasperation. Steve had frozen with chipmunk cheeks full of pastrami.
“No, it can wait,” the man backpedaled and closed the door carefully behind him.
Steve finished chewing his mouthful and took a swig of water. “I can come back.”
“It’s fine,” Frank said. “Besides, I want to know why you’re here with the delicious bribe.”
Snorting, Steve dug back into his sandwich.
After the two men finished their sandwiches and cleaned up Frank fixed Steve with a look. “Spill it, Rogers.”
“I know that you usually have a birthday party for Becca, right?” Steve asked.
“Yes, we usually have cake and presents at the house. Why?”
Steve swallowed nervously. “Can I suggest something?”
“Of course.” Frank gestured.
“So, the last time Bucky and I were at Coney Island we took Becca. God, it must have been 1940, yeah, definitely before Pearl Harbor. I thought it would be fun to take her again. I wanted to ask you because I don’t think Henry likes me still.” Steve’s eyes were far away and Frank wondered what he saw, and began to wonder if Bucky and Steve were closer than anyone, except maybe his mom, suspected.
Frank laughed. “Pop likes you fine. I think Coney Island would be great. Since mom’s birthday is a Saturday I think we could swing it and as far as I know everyone but Danny was going to come to the party, so let me check if we can get him too. He loves Coney Island.”
“Thanks Frank. I don’t want to be pushy but I feel like I’m on borrowed time with Becca,” Steve said quietly as he got to his feet.
“It’s fine,” Frank replied, getting to his feet and moving around his desk to hug Steve. Steve returned it and the door banged open again. “Seriously?” Frank gave a look over Steve’s shoulder to Ed who held up his hands and backed out again.
Steve chuckled and stepped back. “Thanks, I’ll see you Sunday barring emergencies.” He grabbed his jacket and gave Frank a salute as he headed out.
“Thanks for lunch.”
After a minute or so Ed came back in and smirked. “Did you have a nice date?”
Frank rolled his eyes at the teasing. “He looks young enough to be my son.”
“He could be your boy toy,” Ed responded with a wicked grin.
“I don’t think Captain America is a rent boy,” Frank said dryly. He watched with amusement as he realized that Ed hadn’t realized who his guest was.
“Captain. America. No way.” Ed stuttered.
“Captain America, yes way,” Frank confirmed, trying to not laugh at his friend.
Ed made a face at Franks obvious amusement as his expense. “Can I ask?”
Huffing, Ed settled in the chair that Steve had vacated. “Fine. Keep your boy toy secrets.”
“I will,” Frank said comfortably, “Now what did you want?”
"There's noise about Troy Landers' crew in Queens," Ed began.
Chapter 5: 5
“Oh please,” Jackie said with a sneer. “There is no way you’d pass for a gay guy.” Danny’s partner had a good sneer and used it effectively, much to his dismay.
“Hey, I can act gay,” Danny protested, cocking his hip and letting his wrist go limp. Jackie laughed.
Their Lieutenant sighed and covered his eyes. “God, this has disaster written all over it.”
“You’re so straight we could find your photo in the dictionary beneath ‘ruler’,” Derek said, poking another hole in Danny’s balloon of wishful thinking. A couple of detectives laughed at his expense.
“Lieu, we need someone to go undercover into the gay bar to find the suspect and I can do it. I’ll find someone to coach me real quick. I don’t have to pass for a month, just a couple of hours,” Danny pleaded his case.
They were almost sure they had a serial killer and the only link, after long and painful research into the four vics lives was the Excalibur’s gay and drag bar. They had a partial description and while Danny was sure he could pass for gay, he definitely was not drag queen material.
Simon, not the gayest man Danny knew, (that was Frederick who owned the brownstone across the street from his dad,) from HR looked in askance at Jackie before he looked Danny up and down. “Yeah, get rid of the blazer, unbutton your shirt two more buttons, and if you have a gold chain add that. Do you have an ear piercing?”
“What? No!” Danny protested as he wrote everything down.
Simon rolled his eyes, “Get a magnetic earring then so it looks like you have an earring.” He walked around Danny thoughtfully and Danny squirmed slightly, feeling like a cow being assessed for market.
“Wear much tighter pants and don’t arrive before 8 pm, no one else does. And don’t open your mouth, just get a drink and look cool.”
Jackie started laughing when he said, ‘Don’t open your mouth’ because yeah, Danny was a talker.
“Shut up,” Danny grumbled and thanked Simon. He’d get Linda to send Simon a gift for his help.
Steve was restless and didn’t want to go to the tower to hang out with the other Avengers. He also was resisting Natasha insisting he ask out his neighbor. She was pretty but didn’t do anything for him. He got up and went to his closet to pull out some clothes to go out in.
Danny was wired up and dolled up, including the fake earring (borrowed from Nicky) and the gold necklace, hilariously borrowed from Jamie. He walked into Excalibur, letting his eyes acclimate to the dark interior, and blinked at the rainbow glow of lights. There was a guy in drag on stage crooning something by Cher, and doing a damn good job.
After a minute of looking around he sauntered up to the bar (he couldn’t slink. He’d tried but failed spectacularly to learn how to slink, Linda shrieking with laughter) and ordered a frou frou beer. As he waited he checked out the other guys lounging at the bar, one was wearing a dress he was sure he’d seen Erin in and the other was similar to the partial description to their perp, but so were twelve other guys in the bar and he smothered a sigh in his beer.
After almost 4 hours, and a lot of shit from the crew in the van ragging on him through his wire that he hadn’t even been hit on (he was a little offended himself, to be honest) when he heard a husky, “Hey sailor,” to his right.
“Marine,” he responded automatically, before he choked on his beer. Steve Rogers’ smirking face was not what he’d been expecting.
“I pegged you for prior military,” Steve pitched his voice to be heard over the music, not giving away that he knew Danny. He stretched his big body between Danny and the drag queen who was fanning herself, asking the bar tender for a whiskey for himself and another beer for Danny.
Danny cleared his throat with a rough cough. “Yeah, you too, huh?”
“Hmm,” Steve replied, head tilted suspiciously as he stared at Danny.
Crap. Steve thinks he’s cheating on Linda. He gazed back blandly, mind whirling and discarding ideas when he thinks, ‘Fuck it’ and leans forward getting all up in Steve’s business like he’s whispering secrets to him. “I’m undercover, looking for a killer. He’s stocky with black hair but that’s all we have on him.” He presses a quick kiss to Steve’s warm cheek and leans back to judge the results.
“You go, honey,” the drag queen cheers, obviously impressed with Danny’s chutzpah.
Cheeks pink, Steve smiles with a bashful head duck. “That’s sweet but I’m just here for drinks,” he said, making it sound like Danny had propositioned him.
Danny smirked, taking a swallow of his beer when he caught sight of a guy, same description as his perp, who was making another guy (dead ringer for the other vics) uncomfortable, standing way too close and leering obviously. He caught Steve’s eyes and tilted his head in the direction of the guy and Steve moved slightly to look, starting a patter of conversation that was meaningless to Danny as he caught who Danny was watching.
They batted baseball stats idly as they sipped their beers when both Steve and Danny caught the guy dropping something into the other man’s drink with a sleight of hand that might have been impressive had they not been looking for it.
Steve straightened up, “I’ve got the guy,” he said, blue eyes flashing dangerously and already on the move.
“I’ve got the glass,” Danny said bolting after him, Steve grabbing the guy by the back of the neck, making him squawk while Danny grabbed the drink with an apology, “Sorry, buddy, police business,” he said to the protesting, almost victim.
Steve frog-marched the perp out of the door while Danny hustled after him, both men met by uniformed cops who took the guy and the evidence into custody. Danny watched in satisfaction, hands on his hips as the angry perp (who’d realized his playtime had ended abruptly and was pitching a fit and screaming for a lawyer) get driven away in a squad car.
“Well, that was good timing,” Steve said, rubbing the back of his neck. His cheeks were pink and he wouldn’t meet Danny’s eyes.
“Sorry to ruin your good time,” Danny said gruffly, “You know we don’t care who you date, or cruise for that matter.”
Steve huffed out a sigh. “Nah, it wasn’t working for me anyway. Have a good night, Danny.”
Danny rubbed his face, “Stop by the precinct tomorrow so I can get your statement, okay?”
“Do I have to?” Steve whined, much like Jamie used to when they were kids.
Danny snorted, “Nah, just type it up and email it to me. If what he slipped the guy is the same stuff we found I our vics we’ll have it pretty much wrapped up.”
Steve nodded and was about to leave when a black sports car (Maserati) pulled up and the window rolled down. The red head driver frowned at Steve. “If I would have known I wouldn’t keep trying to set you up with women.”
“Please stop,” Steve said feelingly and got into the car. The red head (oh, Black Widow) saluted Danny and the car pulled away with a roar.
“New York has gotten so weird,” Danny complained.
Chapter 6: 6
Coney Island turned out to be a wonderful day. The weather was perfect, slightly warm with a cool breeze off the ocean. Watching their mom giggle like a girl and her and Steve act like kids. They spilled their childhood memories all over the park, telling stories about Bucky and their grandparents and their great grandparents. Danny won his grandma a Captain America stuffed doll, complete with cheap plastic shield which she carried with her everywhere. Jamie had won a tiny Bucky Bear and Steve had honest to God cried over it, embarrassing himself but Sean and Jack had hugged him and he’d pulled himself together and gave them a hug right back with a smile. Even Henry had unbent and enjoyed the day.
Sunday dinner was as chaotic as usual, Steve teasing Erin as he kept his feet in the air while lying on the rug with the boys as they played Hungry, Hungry Hippos. Danny was leaning dangerously back in his chair while Jamie, squeezed between Sean and Jack was trying to get his hippo to work right but had the unfortunate luck of getting the one hippo that had been stepped on. Linda was cheerfully talking about a patient who’d reacted badly to a pain med and thought they were in Mexico and stripped before streaking through the halls of the hospital, making Becca and Frank laugh. Henry watched the chaos with fondness.
When Steve had first come to them he’d been shell-shocked, almost broken with grief but he’d really turned around and Henry liked to think that the family had a lot to do with that.
“Wash your hands for dinner!” Linda ordered and everyone scattered to the various sinks on the ground floor to wash up, Steve and Jamie shoving back and forth at the kitchen sink, Jamie flicking water on the other man, making Steve, honest to God, giggle.
“Boys,” Becca said severely, and Steve outright laughed at her. She pointed at him and he could contain his chuckles, batting at her finger before pulling her into a quick bearhug.
Dinner was proceeding, the meal of fish, asparagus, potatoes and salad disappearing with alacrity when Nicky cleared her throat.
“Steve? Can I ask a question?”
Steve quickly wiped his mouth with a napkin, “Of course, Nicky. Ask away.”
She leaned her elbows on the table and leaned slightly forward to see him better, “If you already served, and you lost Uncle Bucky and everyone, why are you serving again? Haven’t you served our country already?”
Steve slowly straightened up, his blue eyes thoughtful on her, and Frank nodded at his grand-daughter in approval. It was a good question.
“Well, when we were over in Germany your Uncle Buck was a POW along with another hundred or so other men. Hydra had them and was experimenting, though I didn’t know that at the time. All that I knew was I was going to rescue Bucky and no one was gonna talk me out of it. We did it, we rescued everyone we could and burned the prison to the ground.” He could still smell the mold and the blood and the fire sometimes.
He swallowed hard and took a deep drink of water. “Bucky could have left since he’d been a POW. He’d earned that ticket back to Brooklyn. But he didn’t. He told me he was going to stay and watch my back, and I argued but he stood firm.” He looked at Becca who only looked resigned. She knew her brother inside and out, the same as Steve.
“When SHIELD asked me to serve I felt like I owed it to Buck,” he said, “and Peggy.”
“Well, that’s dumb,” Danny’s youngest Sean said firmly. “You served and it’s time for you do something else, like become a policeman or play baseball or something. You don’t want to fight forever.”
Danny covered his face with both hands while Frank sat back and enjoyed the karma playing out at the family table. Henry smothered his laughter in his napkin and even Becca hid a grin in her wine glass.
Steve nodded thoughtfully, not looking down on the boy for his opinion.
“Do you know what? You’re right.” Steve said. “In fact, I’m going to bring that up with Nick. He’s kind of my boss. I’ll see what he thinks. I’ve always wanted to go back to art school.” He wasn’t even being facetious because he hadn’t even considered quitting. Just stop waging war and head towards peace.
“Well, if there’s something I know you can do is bring the fight to someone,” Becca said dryly and giggled when Steve threw his napkin at her.
“I can’t even tell Bucky on you for being mean to me,” he complained but he was grinning at her. He looked over at Sean, “Besides, the Dodgers went to California. They’re the only team I’d play for.”
“Dodgers!” came from several people around the table and a lively argument developed between Steve and the family of Yankees fans. Henry met his eyes and smirked, because he was old enough to remember the pain of the Dodgers defection.
After dinner, Steve sat with Frank after dinner, “I’m headed to DC for a month. Fury wants me to check out the SHIELD teams there. “
Frank nodded, “I’ll let mom know. When are you going?”
“Tomorrow,” Steve said, making a face. He didn’t feel qualified to check over anything but would do his duty.
“Have a good time. Where are you staying?”
Steve shrugged. “SHIELD barracks or a hotel I guess. I don’t know yet.”
“Let us know when you get there,” Frank said, treating Steve like any of his kids.
“You bet,” Steve smiled.
Nick looked at him, an unimpressed glare making his eye narrow.
“What,” he asked flatly.
After a serious minute Steve laughed out loud at the expression on Nick’s face. “No, not yet. But I really don’t want to do this forever.”
“Anyone ever tell you that you’re a smart ass, Rogers?” Nick grumbled, reluctantly impressed that Steve had twisted his tail like that.
“It’s been said,” Steve replied with a wry smile. Bucky had been the worst about saying it.
When Nick relayed the conversation later he enjoyed how Maria and May laughed at his expense. He absently wondered how the Black Widow was doing on her mission.
Chapter 7: 7
“Pop!” Danny’s frantic voice announced his son, Jamie on his heels with Erin behind him. Bemused, Frank got to his feet and exchanged a baffled look with Ed as his kids barreled in, Danny striding to the tv and clicking it on, turning to the news and he saw what his son was upset about. The crawler at the bottom of the screen labeled Captain America as a fugitive and something about obstruction of justice. On the screen itself the nation was watching Steve fighting some kind of terrorist in the goddamn middle of Washington D.C. with what looked like the Black Widow fighting along side him.
“What in the hell?” Frank asked, grabbing his phone to call the DC Police commissioner.
In Brooklyn Rebecca Barnes Reagan was white, her eyes on the fight on national T.V. Steve, for it obviously was Steve, was fighting fiercely, almost too fast to see. There was a red head and the chaos of a gunfight and car explosions. Henry was holding her hand when she suddenly gasped and clutched her chest.
“Honey?” he asked her, alarmed.
“That is Bucky!” she whispered.
Henry’s head snapped back towards the news and all he could was Steve fighting for his life against some kind of assassin, when the news camera caught a side view of the bad guy. “Becca, I’m not sure,” he began because what were the odds that both Steve and Bucky had survived. He looked over at his wife and she was white to the lips, and her eyes rolled back in her head and she’d collapsed in her chair.
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Rebecca, stay with me! ” he shouted at his wife as he fumbled for his phone to call 911. He stayed calm and careful on the phone but was filled with panic. He’d loved Rebecca Barnes for almost 60 years and had always thought he’d go first. As he held her clammy hand in his, he was graced with a kaleidoscope of memories of their life together. The sound of knocking on his door got him to his feet and he grabbed his cane to let the paramedics in.
Danny’s phone rang, “Yeah!” he snapped, his attention on the tv when his gaze snapped to his dad, “We’re on our way, grandpa,” he said. Frank was nodding to whomever he had on the phone with him but he was looking at Danny.
“Grandma has had a heart attack. They’re taking her to Presbyterian.”
Erin grabbed her purse and Frank broke in on the person nattering in his ear, “I appreciate you looking into it. I have to go.” and ended the call, almost slamming the phone down. “Ed!” he shouted, “Get my driver, we’re headed to Presbyterian!”
In the SUV everyone was on their phones trying to find out more information on DC. Erin kept checking her watch because the kids were going to need to be picked up and brought to the hospital too. Danny finally stopped and pressed his phone to his forehead in frustration.
“I don’t understand. What in the hell happened in DC? It smells like a set up to me,” he gritted out.
Jamie shook his head as he thumbed through various news reports. “It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “Even the media is confused. I mean, c’mon, ~Captain America~ is a fugitive?”
Erin snorted, “You mean ~Steve~ is a fugitive, which is even more ludicrous.”
Frank, seated in the front, was reading through his emails. Each one more horrific than the last. “Apparently SHIELD has become a front for HYDRA,” he reportedly grimly. “Jack Graham in DC said they’d had to shoot and kill one of their Captains who suddenly was spouting ‘Hail Hydra’ and had started shooting fellow officers.”
“It was a setup,” Danny said.
“I can’t locate Steve,” Jamie announced. “There was a fight that we were watching, then someone said they heard that Steve had been detained, then that he escaped according to police radio. After that no one seems to know where he went.” Social media had been both a curse and a blessing, but even it had its limits.
They pulled up in front of the hospital and everyone jumped out. Erin grabbed the driver’s sleeve, “Stay here, I’ll be out in ten, so we can pick up the kids.”
The driver nodded and they all headed inside.
On the doomed helicarrier Steve was fighting Bucky for his life. “You know me!” he shouted.
Bucky continued to hit him but Steve stopped, was just done, and felt like his heart was stopping too. “Your names is James Buchanan Barnes. Your sister Becca misses you, without you around she married that punk Henry Reagan.” Steve dropped his shield, not caring that it slid out of the helicarrier and into the Potomac. “I’m not going to fight you, Bucky.”
Bucky shoved him down and punched him repeatedly in the face, “You’re my mission, you’re my mission.”
“Then finish it,” Steve said as he choked on the blood bubbling in his mouth. “Because I’m with you til’ the end of the line.”
Pausing, arm cocked, Bucky stared down at Steve as memories came rushing back like an avalanche of snapshots, Steve, his ma, his sister, Brooklyn and then there was an almighty shudder and the ship broke up as it started to hit the water and Steve’s unconscious body dropped into the water like a stone.
Bucky’s body arrowed into the water, his mind cursing as he swam after Steve’s body, bubbles slowly subsiding as the other man’s lungs filled with water. (pneumonia! His memory shrieked.) He grabbed Steve’s shoulder and slowly swam back to the surface, trying to avoid the burning fuel and debris that was still crashing into the river. Only the sunlight peering through the murky depths of the water keep Bucky heading the correct way.
Breaking through the water he gasped in a breath and heaved Steve’s head out, water gushing out of the unconscious man’s mouth as Bucky wrapped his metal arm more securely around the other man’s middle. Sirens and screams and the sound of helicopters hovering everywhere had him swimming to where there were bunches of trees overhanging the side of the river.
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph”, Bucky grumped to himself. Steve was heavier than a damned car. He had sudden memories of a one hundred twenty pound lightweight as he dragged the dead weight beneath the trees. The sound of sirens getting closer made him drop Steve on the bank, arrange him in the rescue position and disappear.
It was dark in the room, the beeping of the heart monitor loud in her ears. Becca blinked slowly, trying to figure out why she was in the hospital. After a minute of confusion her heart jumped as a shadow moved and came to stand over her and she looked into her beloved brother’s face for the first time in 70 years. “You stupid son of a bitch,” she rasped.
“Hey, that’s our ma you’re speaking of,” he whispered back, his hand taking hers tightly. “I’m so sorry, Becca.”
Memory was slowly returning and she remembered that she’d seen him on the national news beating the snot out of Steve. “Steve?”
He looked away and her already sore heart sank. “He’s in the hospital in DC.”
“Thank Jesus, Mary and Joseph and no thanks to you!” she snapped as much as she was able. She struggled to sit up but he held her flat with his hand and raised the head of the hospital bed for her. The nasal canula almost strangling her before he got it arranged.
“I know,” he whispered. His hair lank and greasy around his face, she’d never seen him with long hair before, and he smelled of blood and smoke and moldy leather. The metal arm was a story in itself.
Footsteps sounded in the hallway and he disappeared into the bathroom just as Linda poked her head in. “Hey Gram, you’re awake. How are you feeling?” she asked as she came over to check the machinery that was connected.
“Like someone sat on my chest,” she complained.
“Pretty much,” Linda confirmed. “You had a mild heart attack brought on by stress. There was only minor damage that they could find but they’ll give you meds and an exercise regime for prevention.”
“Where’s Henry?” Becca asked, anxious to move her along so she could speak to Bucky. “And what time is it?”
“Henry is at home in bed and Frank will be here before he heads to work. I just got off shift and Danny asked me to drop by on my way home,” Linda replied, eyes narrowed. “Everything okay?”
Becca nodded and pretended to be sleepy, “Just tired out. Tell everyone I’m fine.”
“I will, get some sleep,” Linda said softly. “Henry will be relieved to hear you’re awake.” She pressed a fond kiss to Becca’s cheek before she left.
Her brother ghosted out of the bathroom, listening to make sure no one else was coming.
“Go to my house and get some rest,” she ordered him. “And a bath because you stink.”
Bucky rolled his eyes. ROLLED his eyes at her. “I’m a wanted man. I am not putting you or your family in danger.”
She grabbed his hand and pulled him to her. “Our family," she corrected. "What happened to you? How are you even here?”
Bucky stared for a long moment. “I’ll tell ya some other time, all right?” At her look he made a face. “I promise, Bec.”
“Men. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t make ‘em smarter with a stick,” she complained to the ceiling. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know the whole story but she knew that something bad had happened to him. “Go to Steve,” she ordered. “He’ll help you, whatever you need.”
Bucky shook his head. “I can’t. I’m too dangerous. I have to hunt the people who hurt me. Hurt us.”
“Don’t do anything stupid,” she snapped.
Barking a rusty laugh, Bucky shook his head. “Too late, I’m taking the stupid with me. I love you, Bec,” he said, pressed a kiss to her forehead and disappeared like smoke.
Steve winced as he pulled on his t-shirt.
“Need help with that?” Sam asked from his chair where he was thumbing through his phone.
“No,” Steve said, hissing out a breath as he let his arms fall. Bucky sure had done a number on him. He felt like the serum was taking its sweet time healing him, but he knew that it was a by product of how seriously injured he’d been. “I need to go to Brooklyn and then I’m going to find Bucky.”
Sam rolled his eyes. “This is my surprised face. Why Brooklyn?”
Grabbing his shield, he had to thank whomever fished it out of the Potomac for him, Steve stood tall, suppressing the way his ribs pulled. From Sam’s knowing look he wasn’t successful. “I have to see my family.”
Sam got to his feet. “Okay.”
“Okay?” Steve parroted.
“Well, ~I’m~ not going to Brooklyn, I’m gonna go to Queens because if my mama realizes that I’m in New York and I didn’t stop by? I will be dead. She’ll yell at me, kill me, raise me from the dead to yell at me some more.”
Steve snorted, “Then let’s go.”
Danny opened the door to Steve and crossed his arms, a frown on his face. “Incognito are we?”
Steve sighed, slipped off the glasses and ducked his head, the brim of the dark blue baseball cap shading his eyes, “C’mon, Danny. I was in the hospital. I got here as soon as I could.”
“Steven Grant Rogers, get your butt in here!” Becca’s voice called from the kitchen.
Danny smirked and pulled Steve in for a quick hug before letting him drop his Nationals baseball cap he’d been using as a disguise, bag and the shield on the floor by the front door.
The rest of the family met Steve in the kitchen and gave Steve hugs along with gentle scolding. Frank maneuvered him to sit at the bar area after noticing Steve wince as the enthusiastic hug from Sean.
“Well, tell us what you can,” Becca said, settled beside him on one of the chairs. She still wore a nasal canula and had an oxygen tank with her on wheels.
“What’s this?” Steve deflected, gesturing at the canula.
“Never you mind,” she swatted at his hand. “I’m fine. I’m not the one who got mulched and spit out on national tv.”
Steve winced again, forgetting that the battle, the Triskelion blowing up and the helicarriers destruction had been on live tv. He bent carefully over and kissed her cheek before settling in the chair. “Well, apparently SHIELD was a front for Hydra. Um, Nat spilled all of the secrets all over the internet and I’ve been ducking Congress and the DC police.”
Frank and Henry snorted in unison. “A lot of people have been arrested,” Frank added, eyebrows raised in emphasis.
“Yeah, and there will be a lot more,” Steve said heavily. Hydra was more entrenched than anyone thought, and they were scattering like cockroaches since Nat’s upending the records.
“Including Bucky?” Becca asked, ignoring everyone’s shock as she looked at Steve, steel in her gaze.
“You’ve seen him,” Steve said, straightening
“Aye, I seen him,” Becca confirmed, the rolling Irish slash Brooklyn accent coming out strong. “Smelling like damp and smoke and acting like the devil was on his heels.”
Steve sighed heavily before looking at everyone. “This isn’t something that can be talked about, okay? I have to find him and help him.”
“It’s really Uncle Bucky?” Jamie asked with some disbelief.
“Yes,” Steve and Becca say in unison.
‘He’s like a hundred isn’t he?” Jack pointed out, a little incredulously.
“It’s a long story,” Steve told him. “I’m not sure even I know all that happened to him, but it was bad.”
“Did you know he was alive?” Frank asked curiously. He’d bet not.
Steve shook his head. “It was during the fight in downtown DC when his mask came off. I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I realized it was him.”
Becca harrumphed. “I know how you feel.”
“Not funny,” Henry and Frank murmured together. Danny sighed and Erin just shook her head.
“What happened?” Steve demanded, going pale.
“I am fine,” Becca insisted. “I had a small heart attack but there wasn’t any damage. I’m on meds and oxygen. Tell me about Sam.”
“You’re sure?” his eyes went to Linda who wiggled a hand side to side, “Minor, meds and exercise”.
Steve slumped slightly. “Sam and I, oh, you haven’t met Sam yet. He was Air Force Para-rescue and really helped Nat and I out when the government was looking for us. Anyway, Sam and I are going to go after Hydra and I’m going to find Bucky. Nat is going to run our ops from New York.”
“Hydra was the Nazis, right?” Nicky asked, a little tremulously. Steve understood, finding out monsters were real was hard on everybody.
“Yeah, and just like most evil it hid in plain sight until it couldn’t anymore,” Danny said bitterly. Linda wrapped her arm around his waist and he pulled her close. Both boys huddled against them.
Frank clapped Steve on the shoulder. “If you need anything you know you can call any of us,” he said.
Linda poked Steve in the arm, “Have you been looked at?” Steve still had noticeable bruising on his face and moved very carefully.
Steve smiled, “Yeah, I was in the hospital for a coupla days. Sam is a medic and made sure I was okay.” At her ‘mom’ look, he shrugged. “Really. Just a little sore and stiff.”
“When do we get to meet Sam?” Frank asked.
The buzzer on the oven went off and made everyone jump and Linda stepped away from Danny to take care of the chickens inside.
“He’s gonna pick me up. He’s having Sunday dinner with his folks in Queens.”
“Queens? Well, we won’t hold that against him,” Becca said, making Steve laugh. Frank just shook his head at his mother.
“Kids, help me out,” Linda ordered and Steve got up too, grabbing a protesting Jamie which succeeded in making Danny and Erin laugh and the real kids giggle.
Sam shook his head as he caught sight of the sniper on the opposite roof. Figures the police commissioner would have security, especially after what had happened in the city. He knocked on the door and a tow-headed kid opened the door to stare openly at Sam.
“You a cop?”
Sam chuckled, “No, man. I’m here for Steve.”
“Oh, you must be Sam. Steve said you were gonna pick him up. Hi, I’m Sean.”
Sam smiled, charmed by the freckle faced kid. “Nice to meet you, Sean.”
“STEVE! SAM’S’ HERE! ” Sean shouted before he ran upstairs like a herd of elephants. Sam laughed again, his own nieces and nephews sounded exactly the same. His folk's rowhouse in Queens didn’t have the sheer size of the one he was standing in, but it had the same comfort and tradition. Shoes and duffles by the door, family photos in the hall.
Steve poked his head into the hallway. “Hey, c’mon in and meet everyone.”
Sam grew up black in New York City. He’d had the same talk that most black boys in local households when police pulled them over.
Don’t have a smart mouth, say yes sir and yes ma’am, keep your hands on the steering wheel, follow instructions and remember not to make sudden moves. He kind of felt like he was stepping into the lion’s den.
“Hey,” he said, being all calm and shit. He was faced with what seemed like a hundred white people.
“Sam, this is my family,” Steve said with a delighted smile. “C’mere and meet Becca Barnes Reagan, Bucky’s sister.”
Sam smiled at the old woman and could see Bucky’s eyes but instead of cold and flat they were warm and snapping with intelligence. “I’ll bet you’re nicer than your brother,” he said, no mouth filter and he wanted to smack himself in the face. Duh, it’s an easy step up from world-wide assassination.
Becca threw back her head and laughed. “Oh honey, you bet your buttons I am.”
“Hey,” Steve complained feelingly. She patted his arm, “Just because Bucky’s your favorite,” she teased and introduced Sam to the rest of the clan while Steve pouted.
Later, as Sam drove them off, he sent a smirk at Steve. “Now I understand, sooo much about you.”
Steve sighed. “Shut up, Sam.”
“No, no, hear me out,” Sam said, waving a hand while the other stayed on the steering wheel. “You’ve got the wholesome aw shucks, apple pie thing going but you’re a sarcastic, over protective, slightly obsessed mama’s boy.”
“Shut up!” Steve yelped before shoving Sam’s arm and making him yelp and the car swerve before he brought it back under control.
“I’m just messing with you, man. They seem like good people,” Sam said.
Steve settled back in his seat. “They deserve to have Bucky back and I’m going to do my damnedest to make it happen for them.”
“For you too,” Sam said softly, side eyeing his friend.
A pause. “For me too,” he agreed.
“So, why does the Commish have a sniper on the roof across the street,” Sam asked, before if dawned on him like a ton of bricks and he stared over at Steve for a startled second before he yanked the wheel and turned left on a red light, almost getting t-boned and ignoring all of the Brooklyn cursing, raised fingers and horns honking.
Frank stood on his front step, his mother by his side as Sam flew over the buildings across the street, but Bucky was already in the wind. Danny kept the fascinated kids indoors as the neighborhood stared.
After minutes of fruitless searching, Steve stomped back over to them, frustration writ large in the way he was walking. “That jerk,” he said and waved his arms around before huffing angrily.
Becca covered a smirk at the normally unflappable Captain America reduced to her and Bucky’s childhood friend who hated losing at anything. Sam dropped to the sidewalk and folded his wings, sending a salute to the nosy neighbors.
“Are we in danger?” Frank asked, hands in his pockets as he professionally surveyed the area. He was sure his Uncle was still around, and he could tell Steve thought so too.
“No,” Becca snaps while Steve looks uncomfortable.
“Not from Bucky,” Steve temporizes. “It’s why Sam and I are heading out.”
Henry looked at Linda and Erin. “Let’s have everyone here, for the time being.”
“It would be easier to defend,” Danny agreed.
Steve’s face fell “I’m sorry.”
“What did I tell you about being guilty for stuff that isn’t yours, Saint Steven?” Becca snapped.
Steve face palmed before he turned to an amused Sam. “C’mon, Nat’s going to kill us.”
“Heh, Saint Steven,” Sam teased.
Chapter 8: 8
Connie and Becca, Brooklyn 1944
March of '44
Connie DeAngelo groaned and hung onto Becca’s hand and pushed hard, the doctor muttering encouragements as the baby crowned.
“One more push, Miss DeAngelo,” he said and Connie sucked in a deep breath and whined, long and hard as her son slipped out of her into the doctor’s hands.
“It’s a boy,” he said and promptly handed the baby off to the nun and hustled out to another woman in labor. A nurse moved into the spot to deliver the afterbirth. The nun cleaned him up and swaddled him, her disapproving frown pointed at Connie. “You should give him to a Christian family.”
“No!” Connie shouted, wincing as she struggled to sit up to glare. The nurse between her legs rolled her eyes as she tried to stitch up a moving target.
“Be still!” she snapped.
“He’s born in sin,” the sister responded stiffly. Like it was Connie's fault that Bucky was missing in action somewhere in Germany and not there in the hospital like he goddamn should have been.
Becca snapped to her feet. “Sister Christopher, give me the baby and take your baby selling ways out of this room.“ She moved quickly over and took the baby back against the nun’s protests and muscled the older woman out of the room before handing the baby to his mother.
The nurse between Connie’s legs finally got up and put a bloody hand on her back as she stretched out after being bent over for so long. “Keep an eye on your babe,” she said softly. “I don’t think baby selling is far off the mark,” and with that warning she took the tray of bloody cloths and tools and departed as well. It was widely rumored that the Catholic church was 'adopting' out babies from poor immigrant girls to rich families, but the confirmation was terrorizing.
Connie bent over her son, tears running down her face. “I'm naming him Joseph James Barnes.”
Becca nodded and patted her arm. “How are you feeling?” she asked, her mind going a mile a minute. She was nineteen, dating Henry who was overseas in the Pacific. She was jealous of Connie having Bucky’s baby, at least she had a tangible memory of the man that she loved.
Connie wiped her face with a hand. “I just had a baby! I’m sore as hell. Why?”
Making up her mind, Rebecca Barnes, sister of Bucky Barnes and Steven Rogers and no one's patsy, went over to grab the needlepoint bag with Connie’s clothes. “We’re getting out of here. Give me Joseph while you get dressed.”
Seeing the grim resolve on Becca’s face, Connie nodded and gingerly moved to get dressed.
Bucky never came home so he never knew his son, the letter about Joey getting lost between Brooklyn and France. He never knew that Connie had finally married 3 years after his ‘death’ and her husband adopted Joey.
Joey Barnes Lewis had a happy childhood, grew up, joined the Army like his father, met and married late in his 30’s to Darla Rosenstein and died in a training accident six months before Darcy Ann Rebecca Lewis was born.
Rebecca sighed as she settled back in her recliner, all of the memories of Connie and Joey going through her head. “Do any of you know when Darcy is getting here?”
Erin shook her head. “Last I knew she was leaving London yesterday and then she had to get Jane settled in her new labs, but said she’d let us know.”
Darcy, their beloved Darcy, Bucky’s grand-daughter. They hadn’t told Steve yet because Darcy had been out of the state in New Mexico, then out of the country in Europe while she worked with Dr. Foster. Now, with everything going on, this was the kind of news that only could be said in person.
Chapter 9: 9
Rough cut chapter, I need to smooth it out some.
Darcy Lewis put her hands on her hips and watched as Jane’s equipment was being moved from the semi truck to the docking area beneath Stark Tower in preparation for Jane’s lab on the same level as Dr. Banner’s. Not that Janie wasn’t star struck at working side by side with one of the world’s best geneticists (she didn’t care that he turned green, and Dr. B was baffled by Jane’s obliviousness-a sci-bro match made in heaven).
“Watch out, you fumble fingered moron!” Jane shouted as two workers bobbled one of her precious babies. They gingerly set it onto the pallet resting on the pallet-jack.
“Tell him how you really feel, Janie,” Darcy said dryly. She bounded over to her scientist and put an arm around her shoulders, “Tell you what, you head upstairs and make sure the room is ready, okay? I’ll handle the guys.”
“Are you sure?” Jane asked anxiously, her eyes narrowing as the next piece of equipment was being moved.
“To make sure you don’t eat their souls? Yes,” Darcy said firmly. “Scoot. I left snacks in the fridge for you. Thor should be done with his meetings in about an hour.”
Jane’s face brightened and got into the pedestrian elevator while Darcy waved cheerfully.
Darcy turned and scowled at the workers, hands on her hips. “Be more careful or Dr. Foster will have Thor drop his hammer on your truck. “
After a long day making sure Jane’s machines were settled and hooked up, fending off Stark and making sure everyone was fed and watered, Darcy was resting in the back seat of one of the cars that magically appeared when she asked Jarvis for a ride. She hadn’t been home in years (though she skyped regularly) and she was excited to see everyone.
The towncar pulled up across the street from the brownstone, and Darcy got out with her heavy duffle, a little annoyed the driver wasn’t offering to help with it when there was a loud ‘pop’ and Darcy looked up to see a hole in the windshield, blood splatter and the driver slumped forward in his seat.
Darcy grabbed her phone and scuttled around to the back of the towncar. “J!” she shouted into her phone even as she caught a patrol car turn onto the street. “Someone just took out my towncar driver!”
“Understood Ms. Lewis, sir has advised that he will be there shortly,” Jarvis replied calmly.
More gunshots made Darcy hunch down even smaller behind the car, a tire popping making her jump and the car to slump down slightly. What in the name of Thor was going on?
Pulling up behind the towncar, Jamie was confused, “What is she…” and the sound of bullets hitting the patrol car answered his aborted question.
“What the hell?” Eddie shouted.
“Shots fired! Shots fired!” Jamie shouted in his radio, keeping his eyes on his cousin who was crouched down as small as she could make herself. He and Eddie rolled from the car and stayed down on the passenger side while asphalt burst up in chunks in the street. “Darcy!” he yelled, trying to get her attention. He didn’t know what he was going to do when he did.
“Get in the house!” his grandfather unexpectedly shouted from the front door, banging the heavy oak door shut when gun shots starting pinging the cars out front, crashing glass and alarms making a racket.
Jamie waited for a lull in the shooting and he and Eddie popped up and let loose a volley of gunfire towards the suspect. Darcy froze when a man dressed in black appeared out of nowhere, grabbing Darcy and practically throwing her at Jamie, who oofed in surprise as he caught her, both dropping behind the patrol car.
“Shit!” Darcy yelped as Jamie dragged her between him and Eddie. “What the hell?” she said as the man in black shot into the direction of where the shots had been coming from.
“Stay down!” the man barked, using his arm to block a couple of shots before he knelt in the middle of the street, taking aim and firing one more time. The sudden absence of opposing gunfire made the car alarms all the louder. The man turned and strode over to where Jamie, Darcy and Eddie were huddled. “Are you injured?” he asked sharply. He was wearing what looked like black battle gear, his hair pulled back beneath a black baseball cap.
Jamie stared for a long moment. “We’re fine, Uncle Bucky,” he said, and Darcy garbled out a noise that didn’t sound like a word at all. The sound of sirens, FINALLY sounding in the background.
Bucky narrowed his eyes, “Jamie.”
“Yes, sir,” Jamie said, even though he knew it wasn’t a question. He could tell Eddie had a~ thousand~ questions but he kept his eyes on his uncle. “Thanks for the help.”
Bucky grunted and tilted his head at the door where his granddad was standing. “Reagan.”
Henry snorted. “Barnes.” He looked at the kids and ordered, “Get in here, right now.”
Jamie jumped up and helped Darcy to her feet, Eddie scrambling to hers and they rounded the patrol car that now had way more holes than when they started their patrol, and 3 flat tires and they headed towards the brownstone.
“Gunman’s dead,” Bucky announced, putting his gun back in some sort of holster across his back. As he saw the first cop car start around the corner a couple of blocks up he smirked at the man on the porch, “Tell Becca I said hi,” he said and turned and ran down the sidewalk, disappearing around the corner.
The sound of repulsors filled the air and the clash of red and gold dropped into the city street and Iron Man looked around before focusing on the group on the porch. “Hey kid, hell of a welcome to New York.”
“Wasn’t my fault,” Darcy complained. “But I am sorry that your driver is dead.”
Iron Man nodded, and nodded toward the arriving police cars, “I’ll let the locals deal with it now . I have to let Pep know. We'll talk about your secrets when you get back to the tower,” and with a burst of power he shot into the sky.
“Show off,” she said with a fond headshake.
“Come inside kids,” Henry ordered.
Once inside, Darcy hugged everyone. “Now, what in the name of Thor happened?” she demanded.
Jamie shared a look with his grandpa. “Someone was shooting at you, then at us, then Uncle Bucky showed up and saved the day?”
Darcy stared for a long moment. “What,” she said flatly. “You were serious, Grandpa Bucky is alive?”
“So is Steve!” Nicki chirped.
“Steve? Steve who?” Darcy asked.
“Steve Rogers,” Becca told her.
“Why would anyone be shooting at Darcy?” Henry interrupted Darcy’s disbelief.
“No one would! That’s who,” Darcy complained. “I have a degree in Poli-Sci, am halfway through my masters and I’m still working for Jane. I think you’re all delusional. Also, in the millions of Skype calls, you couldn’t have ~mentioned~ that Captain America or Grandpa Bucky was alive?”
“Now darling,” Becca began, “I didn’t feel that this was news for over the phone.”
Darcy threw up her hands, “I’m a millennial! We do everything over our phones!”
The cousins snickered and the older generation rolled their eyes. The door burst open, making them all jump and Frank strode in with Danny on his heels.
“I heard what happened. Is everyone okay?”
“Hey Frankie, Danny,” Darcy greeted, bouncing up to get hugs from her cousins.
“Oh sure, everyone is okay, thanks to Uncle Bucky,” Jamie said dryly. He stood up and gestured to his partner, “Eddie and I have got to get going, they’re about to tow our ride. We’re getting a ride back to the station. They’re leaving another patrol car for now.”
“That’s your car?” Frank snapped. “What happened?”
“No one was shooting at Darcy and Uncle Bucky took the shooter out then disappeared.”
“No one was shooting at Darcy?” Frank parroted, eyebrows raised as he looked at his cousin, then at Danny in an obvious order. Danny obediently stepped back outside to check out the crime scene.
“I’m a lab assistant, so NO, no one was shooting at me,” Darcy replied tartly.
“Pretty sure Jamie said so,” Sean snarked from where he was digging in a cabinet. “I’d think he’d know seeing as he’s a cop and all.”
Henry rolled his eyes. Jamie may have been a cop but he was still practically a rookie as far as the family was concerned.
“Let me rephrase,” she said, “I don’t ~why~ someone would shoot at me. Like I said, lowly assistant to..”
“To the world’s foremost expert on interplanetary science,” Frank interrupted blandly. He turned when Danny knocked once and stepped in, followed by the local precinct captain.
“Sir!” Jamie yelped and jumped to his feet, Eddie following suit. The Captain shot them both a look but turned his attention to Frank, shaking his and Henry’s hand, nodding to the rest of a family.
“Well, they were loaded for bear,” Danny said.
“He was wearing a vest and had about 1,000 rounds of ammo on him. Whoever took him out was a hell of a shot,” the Captain said. Everyone stayed mum about who the shooter was.
“Becca!” Steve’s frantic voice came from the street and the Captain’s radio went wild as Steve burst through the door.
“Whoa, Steven, ” Becca soothed as she moved to intercept Steve, “No one was hurt, just the bad guy.”
Steve patted her over before turning to check everyone out. Jamie held up his hands, “We’re all fine, Steve.”
Captain Reynold’s bushy eyebrows were almost to his hairline but he nodded in understanding at the Commissioner’s severe look. This was not public knowledge. “Let’s go, we’ve got reports to file,” he ordered and Eddie and Jamie followed him out.
Steve collapsed into the chair beside Becca. “All I saw was Stark flying over, then I turned on the street and saw all of the police practically in front of the house and thought the worst.”
“Try being in the middle of it,” Darcy complained. She went over and extended her hand, “Darcy Lewis. Scientist wrangler extraordinaire.”
Popping to his feet, Steve’s face went pink. He hadn’t noticed the pretty dame in the rush of making sure the family was okay. “Steve Rogers,” he began, then titled his head, her hand still in his, “~Thor’s~ Darcy?”
Darcy laughed delightedly, “Yeah, he loves that story.”
“She’s also Uncle Bucky’s grand-daughter, and my 3rd or 12th cousin or something,” Sean announced with no idea of the verbal bomb he’d dropped as he plopped down on the floor with the bag of Fritos he’d liberated from the cupboard. “Hi Steve!” he continued, “Did you kill a lot of Hydra?”
“Sean!” Danny barked. Sean shrugged unapologetically.
“Blood-thirsty little beast,” Becca complained but her eyes were on the tableau in front of her.
"Hi Sean," Steve replied, "And maybe." He threw a grin at the boy before turning back to Darcy. He stared down at Darcy, his eyes roaming over her face and he could see it, see Bucky’s mouth and his stormy gray eyes in the gal in front of him. “How?”
“Weeeelll,” Darcy drawled, only a hint of Brooklyn in her voice, “Grandpa Bucky met Grandma Connie and they canoodled….”
Steve snorted and waved his left hand, “No, I didn’t mean, well, I DID, you mean Connie was pregnant when Buck left?”
“Why don’t you kids sit and we’ll fill you both in,” Becca verbally nudged the two, watching with interest as the two young people studied each other with curiosity.
Frank sighed and unbuttoned his jacket. “Danny, make sure everything is handled out front please.”
Danny checked his phone, “Yeah, I’ll pick up Linda too. Looks like it’s gonna be a family dinner,” he said and left, the door slamming with a bang.
“I wish he’d stop doing that,” Becca complained.
“Good luck with that Grandma,” Nicky pointed out with a grin. “He’s like almost 40 now so if he hasn’t figured it out yet?”
Becca and Henry exchanged looks full of laughter. “I blame you, Frank.”
“Me?” Frank complained, “I just got here!”
“Yes you, son,” Becca scolded, “you raised that rascal.”
“It takes two to tango, Aunt Becca,” Darcy teased.
“I’m sure Mary Margaret was a saint,” Becca said piously, giggling when Frank laughed. Mary Margaret had taken guff from no one, not from her children and definitely not from Frank.
Steve smiled. “Apparently Bucky learned how to tango a little too well. We got a little mail but I don’t remember a letter from Connie.”
Becca sighed. “By the time Joey was born Bucky had gone missing.” She turned to Sean, “Darling, get me Joey’s album please.”
Sean scrambled for the large cabinet where the old family photo albums were kept and brought her over the one that said on its spine, “Joseph B. Lewis”. She opened it up at the beginning where there was a photo of Connie and Joey, who looked like a newborn.
“Joey?” Steve’s voice broke and he looked at the photo of the baby Bucky never got to know. He turned the pages, delighted as he watched Bucky’s son grow up.
“Joseph James Barnes Lewis,” Darcy finished. “My dad was adopted by my Grandpa Charlie Lewis when he and Grandma Connie got married.”
“Joey was almost 5 when Connie met Charlie. He was from Red Hook and in Brooklyn on business when he fell for her,” Becca reminisced. She and Connie had become best friends after high school, and Connie moving to Red Hook about broke her heart, except Connie was Brooklyn born and bred and visited their town often so they’d seen Joey as he grew up.
“Dad never thought he’d marry,” Darcy picked up the story even though she’d never met her father. “He joined the Army after attending St. Francis and took to it like a duck to water.”
Henry nodded, “Joey and Frank got into a lot of trouble at St. Francis. I’ve never heard a priest cuss like Father O’Brien.”
“Hah, that was all Joey’s fault,” Frank protested. He missed his older cousin, only by three years and they’d gotten into some trouble around Brooklyn, once upon a time. Cousin Joey and himself were terrors, to be sure.
“And here he can’t defend himself,” Becca scolded, but the smile on her face belied the scold.
Henry snorted, “You boys were trouble, no getting around it.”
“What happened to Joey?” Steve asked because he could tell the story didn’t have a happy ending. He paused at a picture of Joey in his dress uniform.
The women went silent, so Frank spoke up. “Joe met Darla Rosenstein at a party here in Brooklyn in what, 75?” he asked his mother.
“Around then, yes. They fell in love and got married over the objections of her family, which was obviously Jewish,” Becca said. “She told him that she’d been in an accident as a child and couldn’t have children and he’d not cared a fig. He stayed in the Army and they traveled the world, when to their surprise, after almost 15 years of marriage, Darla miraculously became pregnant.”
“That was me!” Darcy said, raising her hand like Steve wouldn’t have been able to figure it out
“What happened to Joey?”
“A dumb training accident,” Frank said with a headshake. “He was training some kids at Ft. Ord and one of the cannons exploded, metal fatigue. No one’s fault, just an old piece of equipment. Darla was 8 months pregnant and came home to Brooklyn and had Darcy.”
“God,” Steve said, leaning over to clasp Darcy’s hand. “I’m so sorry. I’ve been there.” He knew what it was like to grow up without a father. He’d been lucky Bucky’s folks had helped his mom take up the slack.
Darcy nodded, “I had Frank and Uncle Henry and even Danny and Joe growing up, so it wasn’t terrible. Mom was awesome.”
Steve nodded, “Is she…” he felt awkward asking.
“She died about five years ago after getting the flu,” Darcy said.
“Her family lives over Williamsburg still,” Becca said. “Are you going over there anytime soon?” she asked Darcy who shook her head.
“No way, not with Aunt Ruth trying to set me up with every single Jewish doctor in Borough Park,” she said, shaking her head no vehemently.
“Does Bucky know?” Steve asked suddenly.
The family looked at each other, and Darcy shook her head. “I don’t think so, but then I didn’t realize who it was when he bodily picked me up and threw me at Jamie.”
“Maybe someone does,” Nickie said, a bit hesitatingly. “Maybe they were trying to lure Uncle Bucky in once they knew Darcy was going to be here?”
Frank smiled at his granddaughter, “You may be right, but I think it probably has something to do with Darcy’s work with Dr. Foster.”
Becca shook her head, “Joey’s name changed when Charlie adopted him and all of that sort of thing we considered a ‘closed’ adoption. And unless you knew where to look, Joey’s birth to Connie only listed her name, not Bucky’s because she was a single mother.”
Darcy’s phone began to play some sort of music and she sighed, “it’s Jane. Stark must have told her.” She stood up to take the call to the library, “Janie, aren’t you supposed to be banging Thor like a screen door in a hurricane right now?”
“Darcy Elizabeth!” Becca exclaimed.
“Aunt Bec, if Catholic school hasn’t taught the kids about sex yet then it’s fallen down on it’s job,” she said before disappearing into the next room over, obviously trying and failing to reassure Jane.
Steve shared a look with Frank and burst out laughing, sputtering when Becca used her pair of knitting needles to poke him for his hilarity. “C’mon, Becca. I seem to remember a time…” he began.
“If you value your life, boyo, you’ll not finish that sentence,” she warned him sternly.
The front door opened and Linda, Danny, Jack and Erin came in, a burst of wind and leaves accompanying them. Darcy came out, obviously done with her call and got more hugs all around.
“Jamie will be by around 6. I also extended the invitation to his partner since she was in the middle of the war zone. I didn’t think anyone would mind.”
“Mother Mary and all the saints, dinner!” Becca yelped and got to her feet.
“Lets just get pizza, Aunt Bec,” Darcy said, “That way we can still talk and not have to wait for a meal to cook.”
“Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! ’ the kids chorused, Sean getting on his knees to pretend beg his great grandmother.
Becca put her hands on her hips, before regarding her niece, “You’re trouble, just like someone else I know,” she tilted her head significantly in Steve’s direction.
“Hey!” Steve exclaimed indignantly while the younger cousins laughed at him.
Chapter 10: 10
Interlude between Steve and Becca
Becca glanced up from the blanket she was knitting, “Steve! What a pleasant surprise!”
Steve bent over to kiss her cheek before he flopped down on a chair beside her. He knew she wouldn’t mind he wasn’t using company manners around her. “Ugh, I hate the traffic now.”
“Poor baby,” Becca crooned with false sympathy, enjoying the annoyed face he made back at her. They tended to fall back into childhood habits around each other, despite their opposite ages.
She continued to knit while Steve sat and watched her before it dawned on him what she was making. “Hey, is that for me?”
Becca rolled her eyes like she was 12 again. “Dumbass. Who else would I be making a red, white and blue chevron patterned blanket for?”
“Hey,” he protested as he picked up a corner to look at it closer. “It could’ve been for Frank, or even Henry.”
“Steven, I’m 88. Don’t you think I’ve made enough of these things for everyone to have at least two? I make one for every new baby too, plus lap robes for the old people at church.”
Steve snorted, “Thank goodness it’s not a lap one then since I’m older than all of you.”
“A lap one wouldn’t cover your modesty, much less your lap,” Becca teased and then laughed gleefully as Steve turned red as a tomato.
“Shut up, Becca!” he demanded with a pout.
“Why are you here anyway, old person?” she asked, twitching the blanket back to she could arrange it and continue knitting.
“Can’t I just stop by and bug you?”
She sent him a flat look. “You are.”
Steve laughed softly. Becca might be 88 but she was still a firecracker. Damn Bucky anyway.
"Bucky is avoiding me." Understatement-The man formerly known as the Winter Soldier was traveling the world, decimating the Hydra population one cell at a time with an occasional drop in to Brooklyn.
Becca sighed, finished the row she was working on in silence before setting aside the blanket. "Steven Grant Rogers, you listen to me." She gently took his chin and raised it to look into his eyes, "Are you listening?" At his reluctant nod she patted his cheek and sat back. "If what is being said is true, our government and the Nazis did truly monstrous, despicable, ~unforgivable~ things to Bucky. Including trying to take us away from him. He, or rather his alter ego, killed many people and you ~know~ Bucky, Steve. He's always felt he had to right the wrongs of the world, sort of like some other boyo I know and love."
"Aw, Bec," Steve whined, but deflated in his seat. He pulled the corner of the afghan to him and idly fingered the rows.
"Aw, Bec nothing! If you were in his shoes you would do no different. Hell, Steve, you and Sam with the other boy band members ~are~ doing the same thing. Let him be. I'll bet he'll come back to Brooklyn before we know it." Becca, finished with her pep-talk fished her needles out and started a new row.
Steve laughed abruptly. "I'm telling Natasha you called her part of a boy band."
"She's a smart woman, she'll agree with me. Mark my words," Becca said, a decided nod punctuating her words.
Natasha looked over at Steve as she finished getting ready. "She's right on the money."
"Aw, Nat!" Steve whined. "You can't pick on me too!"
"We picking on Cap?" Tony asked, clanking into the room as they finished.
Natasha tossed her hair, "C'mon back up singers. We have killers to find," she replied and sauntered out.
Steve sighed and followed, ignoring Tony's questions about the band thing.
Chapter 11: 11
Bucky, meet Darcy. Sort of.
“Are you sure this looks good?” Becca asked Darcy skeptically as she looked at the cashmere sweater she was wearing in the mirror. It hit her hips mid-thigh which was a lot longer than she was used to.
Darcy nodded, walking from side to side to observe it. “It’s gorgeous. That blue brings out your eyes and with that scarf that Frank got you?”
“Oh!” Becca smiled. It ~would~ be perfect with the scarf Frank got her for her birthday.
They were shopping, enjoying each other’s company. Becca might be 89 but she was no slouch in the shopping department. That being said, when they sat down in the Starbucks she sighed a little in relief. She wasn’t 40 anymore, that’s for sure.
“What do you want to drink, Aunt Bec?” Darcy asked, dropping her own bags gratefully on the floor beside them.
Becca turned slightly to peer at the menu on the wall behind the baristas. “Um, how about half pumpkin spice, half vanilla and whipped cream on top?”
Darcy jumped up, “You got it.”
They take their time, Darcy cracking her up with the stories about the lab, and the shenanigans that Tony and Bruce get up to without supervision, or a glaring Pepper lurking nearby. After they’re finished they step out and the air has gotten crisper, a reminder that fall is in the air and Halloween and Thanksgiving are rolling up around the corner.
“The leaves are lovely this year,” Becca commented as they headed to where the driver was supposed to pick them up. Light crowds walked by, multi ethnic hipsters with headphones, moms, or nannies with baby strollers, a dog walker with six dogs. New York City.
Darcy hiked up her bags, “Last year this time I was in Norway and it was cold as a witch’s tit.”
Becca burbled a laugh, stopping for a minute to share a giggle with her niece when two men stepped out of the grimy alley, one showing a gun. “Gimme your purses.”
Darcy stepped in front of Becca who was already getting her bag, she’d been told by both Henry and Frank that her stuff wasn’t worth her life.
“No,” Darcy said flatly. She had a hand hidden and her taser ready to go.
“Dar…” Becca began when there was a blur of black from above and someone landed on the one with the weapon. Darcy immediately shot the second one with her taser making him squawk and fall to the ground unconscious.
“Oh, heavens to Betsy,” Becca said sharply, “James Buchanan Barnes, are you STALKING me?”
Bucky glared at his sister as he hog-tied the guy he’d made unconscious by maybe landing on him a little. “Maybe, whaddya going to do about it? Spank me?”
Darcy giggled as she tied up the second guy and retrieved the wires to her taser. Both Becca and Bucky turned to scowl at her and she giggled again, “No no, go ahead. You sound like Jackie and Sean. It’s pretty hilarious.”
Bucky made a face at the pretty dame. “I thought you worked at Stark Tower. Who are you anyway?”
“That’s your granddaughter, Darcy,” Becca told him tartly. “If you ever decided to stop making Stevie miserable and drop by the house to see your ~family~ then you mighta known before now.”
Framed by a dirty baseball cap with a Detroit Tigers logo of all things, startled gray blue eyes stared at his sister, before staring at Darcy, who giggled again. She put her taser away and held out her hand, “Hi, Darcy Lewis.”
Speechless, manners beat into him almost 90 years before made him hold out his hand and get it shaken briskly by the dame, no, ~his~ what? “My what?”
“Nope, nothing doing. We’re not discussing family business over these two thugs,” Becca declared. “Stop by the house to hear the whole story, Buck. Let’s go, Darcy.”
Darcy shrugged and picked up her bags, “Catch ya later, Grandpa.”
Sirens didn’t even make Bucky budge as he watched, open mouthed as the two women walk away down the sidewalk.
“What in the hell?” he asked. The thump of police car doors made him realize he was a street level target and he gathered his wits and jumped up to a fire-escape stairs and clambered up as the police arrived. He disappeared over the roof and got to the edge in time to see his sister and, nope, not going to say it, that dame get into a towncar.
Darcy threw the bags in the back seat before helping Aunt Becca in, then sliding in behind but not until she gave a thorough look behind her.
“Hi Ms. Lewis,” the driver greeted and Darcy grinned, diverted from her search by this surprise.
“Happy! To what do we owe the pleasure?”
“The Boss sent me when you texted JARVIS for a car. Who’s the pretty lady with you?” he asked, smiling charmingly in the mirror as he pulled into traffic.
Becca snorted. “The Police Commissioner’s mother, young man. Rebecca Reagan.”
Happy grinned. “Please to meet you, ma’am. Harold Hogan. I’ve been working for Tony Stark for almost 20 years,” he replied, not at all put off by her salty greeting.
“Hogan? The boxer?” Becca asked in surprise.
“Yes ma’am,” Happy replied, his own surprise reflected in his voice. “That was years ago though.”
Becca waved a hand. “Years ago is relative, young man. I went to a couple of your fights with my grandson who was interested in boxing. My brother boxed semi pro and Joey thought it looked ‘cool’.”
“Grandpa boxed? Man, what else don’t I know?” Darcy asked.
“What you know could fill a thimble, dear,” Becca replied and Happy laughed from the front seat as they pulled up in front of the brownstone.
“Thanks, Aunt Bec, love you too,” she said dryly as she handed Becca her bags. Happy walked her carefully up the steps and handed her off to Uncle Henry, who waved at Darcy who was waving from her window.
“We’ll see you Sunday!” he called and the door closed.
Happy got back into the car and headed towards Manhattan. “She seems nice.”
Darcy chuckled. “She can be. She can also be a barracuda. Depends on how she feels.”
“Well, at her age I suppose she doesn’t put up with much, does she?”
Thinking about Grandpa Bucky’s face made Darcy giggle. “Nope, she sure doesn’t.”
Later that afternoon, Tony was working on his suit, tinkering with a speaker that was causing a squealing feedback when JARVIS spoke, “Sir, there’s been an incident.”
“And? Tony replied absently.
“The King of Wakanda was assassinated. They’re claiming that it was the Winter Soldier.”
Tony’s head came up and he watched the news on one of his drop down screens, and in two different places two women said, “Impossible!” and “Uh, not possible!” when they saw the news.
“You’d better call everyone,” Tony said. “We have a treaty with them and this is the kind of thing we’re supposed to do. Let Ross know we’re headed over, would ya J?”
“As you will sir,” JARVIS replied.
Jane grumpily stomped into the lab from whence Darcy had banished her hours before. “Hey, I thought you and Thor were doing a thing?” she asked. At the same time she was busy on her phone because there was no way Grandpa was guilty.
“He was called in. They’re going to Wakanda to catch the Winter Soldier,” Jane groused.
“What?” Darcy yelped and sprinted out of the lab to the elevator. “J! I need to see the Avengers! Pronto!”
“They’re about to have their mission meeting, Ms. Lewis,” Jarvis answered.
“Perfect timing then,” Darcy said, fingers drumming nervously on the elevator walls as it shot upward.
Steve walked in, “What’s the mission, Tony?” he wasn’t paying attention to the drop down screen as he was fiddling with the magnetic clasp for his shield.
“The King of Wakanda was assassinated by the Winter Soldier. We’re going in…”
Everyone stopped and stared at Steve, who was hopping around on one foot and cursing because he’d dropped his shield on his toes. “What?” he asked through gritted teeth. “Do they have proof?” On top of everything is phone was non-stop buzzing at his hip.
Thor helpfully got Steve a chair and brought his shield over to lean against the leg of the large conference table. “Thanks, Thor,” Steve said gratefully, rubbing his rapidly healing toes while his mind was going a million different directions. “Have we spoken to the government?”
Tony nodded. “Ross is invoking our treaty.”
“Isn’t the Prince in Europe?” Natasha asked thoughtfully.
“And apparently Winter Bucky has been pulled back in by Hydra and is back to his old tricks.” Tony finished, his fingers flying over the screens, trying to pinpoint where the Soldier would go next.
“There’s a problem with that theory,” Darcy announced from the doorway.
“Lady Darcy! Is Jane well? I left her in somewhat of a rush.” Thor asked in concern.
Darcy smiled, “She’s fine, big guy. Back in the labs even as we speak.”
Tony brushed the screen he was working on away. “What is the problem with my theory, which in actual fact is fact, Science babysitter?”
Steve glanced at his phone and saw that Becca had called five times, probably about Bucky. The assassination was all over the news.
“Well, let’s start with science,” Darcy said, tapping a finger against her lip. “J, how long is the flight from New York to Wakanda?”
“Ten hours, Ms. Lewis.”
“If it was a military jet?”
Tony sighed, “Seven hours, give or take the technology aboard. What is this about, D?
“The assassination was at what time, local, J?” Darcy asked the AI.
“Approximately 1420 hours.”
Darcy rolled her eyes, “In real time?”
“Two twenty,” Steve replied with a grin.
Darcy smirked. “J, do me a favor and bring up the city security cameras on Hanson and Ashland at 2:30 today.” She looked over at Steve, “Aunt Becca and I were shopping today. Getting a head start on Christmas.”
“It was a beautiful day for it,” Steve approved.
On the screen they saw Becca and Darcy walking away from the cameras when the two thugs sauntered out of the alley. Steve, Tony and Thor began speak but Darcy held up a hand for quiet, “Wait for it,” she ordered and suddenly you could see a figure drop from above, clipping the one guy with the gun while Darcy took out the other one. Everyone watched the video in silence because here was incontrovertible proof that Bucky Barnes wasn’t in Africa at all, but saving family in Brooklyn.
Chapter 12: 12
Meet the Brooklyn Angel
Danny watched the video of the foiled mugging that was being passed around precincts because cops thought failed crime was pretty funny. Danny did too, until he recognized his grandma and his cousin, and damn it, Uncle Bucky and choked on his coffee.
“You okay, Reagan?”
Danny wiped his mouth with a napkin and moved up to the screen, “This lady here? My grandma. The woman with the taser, that yep, is illegal except she works for the some government think tank, is my cousin Darcy.”
“And ~that~ is the Brooklyn Angel,” Mac said, a thoughtful frown on her face.
“The Brooklyn what?” Danny sputtered, thank Mary and the baby Jesus that he’d already swallowed his mouthful of coffee this time.
“You haven’t heard about the vigilante that’s been patrolling Brooklyn? Geez, Reagan, aren’t you ~from~ there?” O’Rourke pointed out.
“Yeah, him, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen and Spiderman. I’ve had about ten different complaints from criminals that they’re making it hard to commit crimes, go figure,” one of the patrolman said with a hard Brooklyn accent and an eyeroll, making the assorted detectives and other foot patrol laugh.
“God forbid someone’s making crime difficult,” the Captain said, his head tilted as they played the video again. “Your cousin is fast with that taser,” he added.
“Try being a single woman sometime, Captain. You’d carry a bazooka,” a female detective cut in to more laughter, mostly from the other women present.
Maria snorted. “If I had a nickel for every drunk that’s tried to grope me, I’d be living in the Bahamas.”
Three weeks prior-
Bucky liquid nailed (cool future shit, no lie) the last piece of insulated foam to the wall and surveyed his nest. The building was from the 20’s and he remembered delivering groceries to Mrs. Wallace and Mrs. Goldberg, or was it Goldstein? Walking up the 5 stories and taking the heat if the apples were bruised or God forbid the peaches, if they had any peaches that summer, were soft. The wood work was still there but they’d replaced one of the staircases with an elevator that looked almost as old as the building.
Once he finished he went outside and breathed in the exhaust smudged night air that hung over Brooklyn. Not any better from his, Becca’s and Steve’s childhood, where it was the odor of sewage, oil burning stoves and gasoline lamps. Well, maybe a little better.
Abruptly energized Bucky took a running leap from his roof top to the next, scattering some sleeping pigeons. He went in the direction he used to take as a kid, feeling the exhilaration of landing lightly and pushing off to the next, over and over. A sound makes him stop and the sound of a scuffle reached him.
“No, listen, I said no!” a woman shouted.
“C’mon baby. That’s the price of dinner. You should know this by now!” a man retorted, voice slurred and there was the sound of fabric tearing.
“Don’t call me baby, you bastard!” and the sound of a grunt as the woman was clearly fighting back.
Bucky silently slipped over the edge of the building and free climbed down, the old buildings and the facades from the 20’s making it easy for him to find fingerholds. A gasp and a cry made him look down and growl, the guy had his hand around her throat and she was fighting with all of her strength.
Dropping lightly to the ground, Bucky drawled. “Hey buddy, wanna fight someone your own size?”
The guy jerked in surprise and let go of the girl who started drawing in whooping breaths of air.
“Go away, pal,” the guy ordered and clambered clumsily to his feet. He was big, about 6'3 and built like a gym rat. Obviously though he was hot stuff.
Bucky rolled his eyes, strode over to the schmuck and popped him in the face, dropping him like a sack of potatoes.
“Oh god, oh god, oh god,” the girl whispered, her fingers fumbling with her phone.
“Hey, hey,” Bucky soothed, “Let me call the cops for ya,” he said, gently easing the phone from her shaking hands.
“911, what’s your emergency,” he heard as he put the phone to his ear.
“Yeah, I’m with a dame who was just attacked. She’s been roughed up but she’ll be okay. She needs an ambulance and a cop car to take the schmuck who thought he could get fresh for the price of dinner.” Bucky said. He’d settled beside the girl on the ground and wrapped his arm around her shaking shoulders as she cried.
The operator asked the usual questions and he answered before the slight susurration of sound alerted him to the fact they weren’t alone in the alley anymore. He thrust the phone at her, rolled to his feet and ducked under the first swing , meeting the second with his arm. The guy dressed in red leather narrowed his eyes and slipped to the right, getting Bucky in the side with a hard roundhouse kick.
“No, stop!” the girl croaked, on her feet with her hands spread like she going to stop them. The dim light of the street lights barely reaching into the alley but illuminating enough for them to see each other.
The men stopped, Bucky shaking his hair back, annoyed he’d lost the little rubber band in the fracas.
“Devil, he wasn’t hurting me, he was helping me,” she rasped, her neck already showing a ring of bruising. In the sudden quiet they could hear sirens.
The man dressed in red backed off, hands up, “I apologize.”
Bucky’s brain drug up the vigilante’s name. “Am I in Queens?” he asked, the derogatory note in Queens noted by the wry twist of lips from his adversary.
“Stay in your territory, Brooklyn,” the Devil responded with corresponding snark.
“Cops are almost here,” the dame said with a whisper, and Bucky strode back over to her.
He took her gently by the shoulders, “You are a fighter. You almost didn’t need my help,” he praised. “Next time have back-up so you don’t get stuck with a loser like that, okay?”
She smiled tremulously. “Thank you,” she whispered. He saluted her, threw a judgy look toward the Devil and made a running jump and clambered up the side of the building, disappearing over the top. The Devil nodded to her, grabbed the fire escape and disappeared with a flip onto the roof of the other building.
“An Angel and a Devil,” she whispered, before cops and EMT’s swarmed her, the cops asking her questions while the female EMT made a noise when she was the bruising around her neck. She watched with satisfaction as they rousted the jerk and dragged him over the police car, shoving the complaining bastard in and slamming the door.
“Where else are you hurt, honey?” the EMT asked, checking her eyes with the penlight and muttering to what was obviously an EMT trainee about petechiae and obvious swelling as he obediently nodded and relayed it to the hospital.
“Back of my head when he pushed me down, but that’s it,” she whispered.
The EMT immediately bent her head down to check. She panicked for a second but relaxed when the EMT hummed, gently prodding the slightly swollen spot.
“Ma’am, can you tell me what happened to the suspect?”
Lifting her head after the EMT patted her shoulder, she smiled. “The Brooklyn Angel got him. Though his balls might be swollen because I got a shot in after he knocked me down.”
The cop shot her a look from where he was writing in his little notebook. “The Brooklyn what now?” he sputtered.
“You can ask her more questions at the hospital,” the EMT said briskly. “Let’s lay down, honey. We’re going for a field trip.”
“Worst first date ever,” she whispered, making the EMT’s laugh.
And thus the legend began.
Chapter 13: 13
Not happy with this chapter but after living with it for two weeks I decided to post it anyway and keep writing.
“Jarvis, get Everett on the phone,” Tony ordered.
“Of course, sir. He’s on hold.”
Tony rolled his eyes, “Hey Everett, we have news.”
“If by news,” the proper British voice snapped, “You have the Winter Soldier in custody then of course it would be welcome news.”
“Nah, the news is it wasn’t the Winter Soldier. As the time the King was assassinated the Winter Bucky was here in New York. And unless you have teleportation like Dr. Strange then it is impossible for him to be in the same place and here.”
There was silence on the other end before a voice, definitely Wakandan, spoke, “I would see this proof for myself.”
“Everyone,” Everett’s dry voice said, “This is the crown prince of Wakanda, Prince T’challa.”
“Your Highness, I have sent the video and the conversation that led to the discovery directly to Princess Shuri’s secure channel,” Jarvis jumped in without prompting.
“I thank you, Jarvis,” T’challa said and the channel went dead.
“No manners,” Tony complained lightly
Darcy rolled her eyes, “He just lost his dad to a guy that looked like Grandpa Bucky, had a suspect and everything and now he has this. He’s not gonna be Mr. Personality.”
Steve sighed and slumped down into a seat. “We should still go over and see who it was.”
Thor nodded, “Aye, Jarvis can continue to search for our villain until we put our own boots on the dusty earth of the Wakandan capital.”
Tony shot him finger-guns, “You are correct, Point Break. Let’s head to the jet.”
With an eyeroll and a soft cuff to Tony’s curly head, “Stop being a pain in the ass and let’s go,” Nat ordered and strode out, a smirking Clint on her heels. Thor hopped to his feet and followed.
“Ow,” Tony complained and grabbed his suit, the amused Bruce and Steve rolling in behind him. Steve’s shoulders were looser knowing that it ~wasn’t~ Bucky after all.
Darcy sat in the conference room and rested her head on her arms before briskly getting to her feet. She was dragging Jane to the house to get food and rest. No point in hanging around, plus she needed to touch base with Aunt Bec about the whole Grandpa Bucky getting framed for a crime he didn’t commit thing. They needed to have an intervention.
Shuri’s fingers danced over the keys, ruthless slashing through New York City’s computer security as she searched for more information on James Buchanan Barnes, the deep bitter hate for a man she’d never met withering in the face of a man who’d been basely abused by Hydra and his own government and was now a vigilante in the city of his birth. And it was true, he couldn’t have been in Wakanda to kill her father, but she and Jarvis were working on that mystery.
“It is true, T’Challa,” Shuri confirmed as she brought up the video with it’s time stamp and the conversation Darcy that had started the video search.
T’challa stood with the Queen as they both listened to the conversation, then the video. After it was over, Shuri entertained the Queen with some of Bucky’s escapades while T’Challa prowled back and forth.
The Queen tapped her finger against her mouth, “Why isn’t James Buchanan Barnes reunited with his family? He hovers like an avenging angel but never staying. This Darcy person is his grand-daughter but he doesn’t make an effort to embrace her. There is something wrong with this.”
Shuri brought up information and shrugged, miffed that this was something she couldn’t discover by her computer. “I don’t know, mother. Obviously, he feels that he is a danger. It is a mystery.” And she didn’t like mysteries.
“I want to solve the mystery of who murdered the King,” T’Challa growled.
Shuri turned and face her brother, arms crossed. “I am working backwards from the murder. I have already deduced from our surveillance that the man wore technology to disguise himself. Where he was approximately the same height as James Buchanan Barnes, he was heavier-the device he used didn’t disguise that. There cannot be that many fat, white men in Wakanda. We will find him. ”
Everett Ross stepped in and stopped at the look the three occupants of the room gave him. “I assure you that I’m not fat. I am, in fact, quite fit for my age.”
T’challa sighed. “I am going to meet with the council then I will head to base to await the Avengers.”
With an eyeroll and a dismissive wave, Shuri returned to her computers. “Bring me back a caramel frappuccino.”
“I am not bringing you back a cup filled with caffeine and fat!” T’challa protested.
“You will if you want me to work,” Shuri threatened mildly.
“We don’t even have a Starbucks here and the chef is mad at me for asking him to make them,” her brother grumbled.
“I ~asked~ for a Starbucks. Did I get one? No, so now the chef has to make it,” Shuri pointed out and hid a smile as her mother strode back in and took her brother by the arm and dragged him out.
Everett raised an eyebrow at the younger woman. “What are you plotting, Princess?”
Shuri leaned on one elbow and used Bambi eyes. “What makes you think I’m plotting anything, good sir?”
“And on that note, I am joining your brother and the council,” Ross spun on his heel and left.
With a wicked laugh Shuri got to work, digging into the murder of her father and how she was going to solve the mystery of one Bucky Barnes.
~~Secretary of State Ross executed an order of arrest for the Winter Soldier, wanting proof of the government’s sins to be erased. After all, he wanted to be President.
Bucky Barnes was blissfully unaware of what was going on outside of Brooklyn. At the moment he at the farmer’s market, haggling with 85 year old Mrs. Rosenbaum over plums and both of them were having the time of their lives. She remembered him from the old neighborhood, and though Bucky didn’t remember her, they did have a lot of people in common and he always went to see here when he shopped at the market.
In One Police Plaza no one gave the young patrolmen a second look as they trotted up the steps and strode in. NYC had almost 40,000 police officers, and if another cop thought one of the guys looked a little scruffy, well, no one looked their best after shiftwork.
Frank was in his office, grumpily going through emails. His mom was ticked off at Uncle Bucky and making everyone else miserable. He’d left early, arriving early which caused the inadvertent side affect of having to sort through his emails instead of Abigail. He deleted another after a tart response to the negative for some media event in regards to whatever dumb thing the President had said recently.
“Hey!” Abigail’s voice came through his open door and Frank perked up. He was going to…
The loud sound of a gun shot made Frank jump and he dashed to the door of his office, stunned for a moment to see Abigail lying on the floor when a group of patrolmen stepped around her and shoved him into his office. He cursed the fact that his gun was locked in the safe and apparently these guys knew it because they grabbed one of the visitor chairs and shoved him into it.
“What do you want?” he demanded. Frank already knew that they were comfortable with using force, and he abruptly wondered if they were Hydra, when one of them opened his mouth.
“Yes, Janet. According to sources the Police Commissioner is being held hostage in his office by unknown assailants,” the talking head said, his blinding white tv smile making Danny sigh.
“Okay, who was the jackass who leaked this?” he asked rhetorically because a lot of people didn’t like his dad.
The Captain and Ed both looked up from the floorplan shook their heads at Danny. “Yeah, yeah,” he muttered, turned when he heard running footsteps. He caught Erin before she flew past.
“Hey, hey,” he said and stopped her momentum.
“I just heard, is Abby okay?” Erin gasped.
“She’s fine. It caught her side, didn’t hit anything serious,” Danny soothed. “Ron is at the hospital with her and her parents are on their way. “
“Who is it?” she demanded.
Danny shook his head, “Abby didn’t recognize them but said six or seven patrolmen, though obviously not.”
“Did you call anyone?” Erin shook her head, “Never mind, stupid question,” she said as she watched the SWAT commander and the other officers plan their attack.
Danny sent a sour look towards the tv. “Well they know now,” he said and her eyes caught the same news crawler that his did.
“I’d better call Gram,” Erin replied, pulling her phone out and moving around a knot of SWAT into the hallway to call the family.
Frank stared at the idiots that were in front of him. “Guys, I don’t have that kind of power,” he said, again, for his audience. It turned out that the group of ‘patrolmen’ were a bunch of junior players in the local mafia. And wasn’t Angelo going to laugh at this, if he made it out of there.
“That’s bullshit,” the head one, who sounded like Vinnie from Welcome Back, Kotter’. You can use your influence to get Sonny out of prison. It wasn’t that much crack.”
Frank stifled a sigh, his nose itched and his right arm falling asleep where they’d placed the handcuffs too tight, on purpose. “Just out of curiosity, ~how~ much crack was it?” he asked. The one he called Vinnie punched him in the face, again. His right eye was already swelling shut. His mom was going to hit the ceiling.
“It was only about a hundred pounds,” ‘Vinnie’ said. “Fifteen to twenty for just ‘crack’ was an over-reaction.”
If Frank could have rolled his eyes he would have at this point. “The judges make the call. I’m just the police commissioner, we’re at different ends of the justice system.” His head snapped back as he was hit again and he could feel blood trickle down his chin.
He thought he saw movement over the group’s shoulder but kept his eyes on the idiots while one of the ceiling tiles behind them disappeared into the ceiling, and a blue jean and leather jacket clad form of Frank’s Uncle Bucky dropped silently to the floor behind them. His uncle then reached up and pulled a weapon with a silencer out of the ceiling.
“Well, then if you can’t help us I’ll just kill you,” the idiot said, his arm raising his gun when he dropped to the floor, blood streaming out of the back of his head, and even as the other guys tried to react, it was over in an instant, all seven of them dead and bleeding on his office floor.
“You look like hell, Frank,” Bucky said as he moved between the bodies to gently tip Frank’s face back, matter of factly wiping the streaming blood away from his eye and the corner of his mouth.
“Yeah, well, my day went to shit early,” Frank complained.
Bucky chuckled and moved around behind him, breaking the cuffs with his left hand and Frank groaned as blood started moving around.
“SWAT is probably outside the door,” Frank pointed out.
“Probably,” Bucky agreed, bending down to check each of the idiots before turning to look at his nephew. “Becca is gonna have a conniption.”
“Oh, you think so?” Frank replied sarcastically. “You should come to Sunday dinner to let her get her licks in, share the misery,” he said, rubbing his wrists. “Darcy would like to get to know you too.”
A flinch, and a deep sigh came from his uncle. “I can’t, Frank. Not yet.”
Aware that time was running out before the door got breached, Frank took in his uncle’s weary, bent shoulders.
“Tell me why,” he ordered, years of ordering men, and his kids, behind the demand.
Bucky turned to stare out of the window for a moment, ‘Nice view,” he said before he turned around. “Hydra still has verbal triggers that will wipe me and turn me into the Winter Soldier. Until they’re gone I’m not safe around the family.”
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” Frank cursed, lowly and vehemently. “Is there ~anything~ we can do?”
“Stay out of it,” Bucky ordered firmly. “Who were these idiots, anyway?” he asked, kicking one over to randomly check his teeth.
“Low level Mafia,” Frankly said, accepting the subject change for what it was.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Bucky said indignantly, straightening up. “Who in the hell is the boss right now?”
Frank shrugged, “Pop knows him,” he said and both men looked towards the door at a noise.
“Camera coming in,” Bucky said, “I’m going to talk to Henry and let Becca know you’re okay.”
He patted Frank once before disappearing into the ceiling, putting the ceiling tile back down, leaving Frank surrounded by dead bodies and the door busting open.
“Get on the ground!” the SWAT commander yelled, three of his team stacked up behind him, before stopping at Frank’s one-eyed glare.
“I will not, it‘s covered in blood.”
“Pop?” Danny called from the outer office.
“I’m fine, Danny!”
The SWAT commander surveyed the mess, before waving the rest of the team out of the office, “Yeah, no. He’s coming out to see the medic in just a second. Don’t come in here, Reagan!” he ordered Danny sharply and Frank could hear the heavy sigh from his son and exchanged a smirk with the SWAT commander.
“Vigilante?” the man asked him.
Frank shrugged, “Couldn’t say. I was knocked out most of the time,” he lied.
The man cradled his gun and studied the scene with a practiced eye, “Not Spiderman, too much blood. It’s a little too bright out for the Devil, the Avengers are outta town, which makes this an unknown.” He stuck a finger beneath his helmet to scratch.
Frank hummed and the man turned to glare at him.
“Go see the medic, you stupid son of a bitch. You’re not gonna be able to work in here until the riff raff gets removed, anyway.” He moved the gun to his right hand and helped Frank limp to the doorway, where the noise level rose when the people waiting for him caught sight of his face.
“Jesus, Pop!” Danny moved to his dad and helped him get seated on the gurney, glaring at him when he was about to push off the EMT until he sighed and rested back, letting the EMT do his thing. Erin came over and took one of his hands, checking his wrist.
“Is Abigail…” he began.
“She’ll be okay, Pop,” Danny said, “Went through her side, hit mostly fat and caused minimal damage. She’ll be bugging you to come back in a coupla weeks.”
His daughter gingerly hugged him. “Jesus, Dad,” she said softly. “Only you.”
“I’m okay, honey,” he said, “They were low level Mafia with the collective I.Q. of a tennis shoe.”
Erin laughed a little wetly and kissed her father on the only part of his face that wasn’t bruised.
“Mafia?” Danny asked levelly.
“It’s being handled,” Frank said softly, emphasizing ‘handled’, and glared at Danny meaningfully.
Danny visibly got it. “Oh, well, if it’s being ‘handled’!” he said sarcastically with some arm waving.
“I’m going to call Gram,” Erin said, getting to her feet. “I’ll see you at the hospital.”
“Like hell am I going to the hospital,” Frank said, struggling to get off of the gurney but was promptly shouted down by everyone in the vicinity.
“Frank, if you get off of that gurney I’m going to get the EMT to knock you out and haul your recalcitrant ass to the hospital and while you’re unconscious, shove you in an ass-less hospital gown and let the media in to ask questions,” Ed bit out, hand on his hips and obviously very harrassed. There were several amused faces in the crowd.
“Fine,” Frank grumped, his face really starting to hurt. “Can I get an aspirin?” he asked the EMT who shook his head.
“Not with all of the head shots you took. We’ll get you to Presbyterian,” the EMT said, then leaned forward, “As long as there’s no concussion or you’re not peeing blood you’ll get to go home tonight.”
“Don’t tell anyone, but you’re my favorite,” Frank declared, making the EMT laugh.
Tony Galvano was seated behind his desk, dealing with the minutia of running multiple companies and trying to stay top dog in the local familia. Joey was lounging in his chair, playing some game on his phone and Frank was napping on the couch, then there was the sound of shouting, then thumps of bodies against the wall before the door banged open.
In the doorway stood a hipster, skinny jeans, manbun and everything and Tony could see the bodies of his bodyguards lying in the hallway before the guy stepped inside. Joey pulled his gun only to shout when his hand was pinned with a knife, making him drop it. At the same time Frank had struggled to get his bulk off of the couch but hipster pulled a gun, “Don’t do it or I’m going to shoot you and your boss and that will make Tony Senior unhappy.”
Frank sank back onto the couch and Tony stared at the Hipster who made himself comfortable.
“Who are you?”
The Hipster leaned back in his chair, tilted his head. “How about you call your pop and I’ll tell ya a story while we wait.”
Tony carefully kept his hands where the Hipster could see them and texted his dad to come to the office. “What kind of story?” he asked, carefully placing his phone down but not before turning on the recording device on it.
“So, back in the 1930’s and the early 40’s,” the Hipster began, “a bunch a guys ran around the streets of Brooklyn. They all lived in the same neighborhood and didn’t have a pot to piss in. You could work on the railroad, or the docks if you could get a job, or you could work for one of the families.”
Tony frowned. He’d heard a version of this story from his father. “So what? That’s history.”
“Yeah, you’d think so,” the Hipster said, a bitter twist to his lips. “So, where was I? Oh yeah, theses guy’s families came from all over, most were first generation Americans. Italy, Ireland, Poland. They, ~we~ were a regular UN of punks.” A noise came from the hallway and the Hipster stood, guns in both hands even as an elderly white-haired man with a thin white mustache, a duck yellow jacket and plaid golf pants into the office.
“What the hell is going on, Junior?” the man barked before focusing on the Hipster.
“Tony, you don’t recognize your first numbers runner? I’m hurt!” the Hipster said, a grin on his face as he slid the guns back into his jacket and spread his arms.
The man peered at him and his face cleared. “Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Never tell me that it’s James Buchanan Barnes back in the flesh! Where’s your shadow?”
“Hah, if he had his way I’d have to hide behind him, now,” Bucky sighed. The two men embraced and the Hipster grinned down at the old man, “What’s with the snow on top, old man?”
Tony was still confused as his father threw his head back and laughed. “That’s what happens when you get old, Bucky. What in the hell happened to you? Last I knew you were MIA in Germany or Austria,” he said, then smirked, “Though I have heard rumors that I completely discounted.”
“It’s a long and ugly story. I have another ugly story to tell ya,” he gestured at Tony’s son and the old man’s bushy eyebrows raised, “What the hell happened?”
“So, you know who I am, right?” the Hipster, or apparently, ‘Bucky Barnes’ asked.
“You used to hang around with pop when you guys were younger," Tony parroted obediently, running a nervous hand over his impeccably cut graying hair. Except this guy was younger than he was.
“Yep, I’m Bucky Barnes. I have a younger sister named Becca.”
“She’s still a firecracker, that one,” Tony laughed. “Have her tell the story of when she kicked the mayor.”
Bucky rolled his eyes and pointed at his face. “This? This is my surprised face.” He cracked a smile when Tony laughed again.
“~Anyway~, after I went missing she married that punk Henry Reagan. You know, former Police Commissioner, Henry Reagan.” Bucky looked at his old friend, “You watch the news today?”
“Nah,” the white hair man answered in the negative. “I was playing golf.”
The man behind the desk was still looking puzzled.
“So, I am waiting for a haircut at the barber, (“And boy , do ya need one”, “Shut up, Tony”) and I watch, it’s crazy how instant the news is nowadays, this tv guy says, ‘The Police Commissioner’s aide has been shot and he is being held hostage.’”
Tony Senior was livid and the dime finally dropped on Tony Junior. “Are you an idiot?” he shouted. He turned back to Bucky, “Is Frank okay?”
“My nephew, Frank Reagan,” Bucky put an emphasis on the words, “was roughed up some but he’s gonna be okay. However, the guys who attacked him are all dead.” Bucky’s face was grim.
“Who were they?” Tony asked his son.
Tony looked away from his father, “Just some young punks. There was a lot of talk when Sonny went to Rikers. You know, for the drugs.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Senior said. “I left youse twenty-seven successful businesses, and you’re back into drugs?"
Bucky turned to stare at Tony Junior. “Just for your information, I take my family’s health and happiness very seriously.” He pulled a gun with the silencer out of his coat and laid it on Junior’s desk. “Do you understand me?”
Junior’s face went white and he nodded rapidly. “I understand.”
“Every one of my family. My sister and that punk she married,” he said. He shot a grin at Senior’s laugh, “My nephew and all of his kids and grand-kids. If one of them gets the flu because they touched one of your goons who didn’t get his flu shot? I’m gonna apologize to your pop first but then I’m coming for you, capische?”
Tony Jr. nodded frantically. Tony Senior sighed. “I personally apologize on behalf of the family. It will not happen again, my word on it.”
Bucky looked for a long moment at his old friend, then nodded. “Thanks, Tony. Say, did you marry Maria DiCarlo?”
“I may have, why?” Senior asked.
Picking up his gun, he secured it in his jacket and smirked at his old friend. “Tell her hello for me, would ya?”
“I will not,” the old man retorted. “But we should catch dinner. Tom’s is still around.”
Bucky looked interested. “No kidding? Huh. When my life settles down I’ll call ya, old man.” He disappeared the door, then stuck his head back in. “These guys out here ain’t dead, just resting,” he said and disappeared again.
Senior shook his head, then the fond smile fell off of his face as he turned to stare at his son. “Guess who gets to speak to the parents of those dumb kids?”
And Junior dropped his head down onto his desk.
Chapter 14: 14
Bucky and Darcy finally meet under difficult circumstances. Also Spiderman wants to meet a fellow vigilante.
I'm not happy with this chapter-there's something amiss but I'm tired of futzing with it.
Darcy’s head bopped in rhythm to her playlist as she walked down the street to her favorite coffee shop. The line was outside the door like usual, but she was used to standing in line in the Big Apple and took it with chill, pulling out her phone and checking her Snapchat. A loud squeal that cut in even over her music, made her wince and she glanced over at a toddler who looked like he was wearing most of a chocolate muffin and being soundly ignored by his mom who was chatting on her phone.
Shaking her head, Darcy cranked up her tunes and when she got her order she miraculously found a table near the front of the store. She surreptitiously snapped a picture of the hyped on sugar happy kid and titled it, ‘Big Mood’ on her chat and laughed at the replies.
It was about fifteen minutes later when there was a thud and all of the liquid in people’s glasses/cups shook a la Jurassic Park. Another thud and Darcy got to her feet and craned her neck to peek out of the door and caught sight of two Doom Bots who’d obviously just landed.
“Son of a bitch,” Darcy spat though she was relieved when she caught sight of Iron Man soaring overhead. She turned and shouted, “Everyone to the back!”
People in the NYC were pretty blasé about the regular invasion/battles but the blast in the street out front got everyone scrambling for the back door. The mother was trying to wrangle her now screaming baby, Darcy headed to her to help when there was almighty explosion and the front of the store blew in and it was lights out for Darcy.
Steve decapitated the last Doom Bot and Tony zoomed down and caught Doom, dragging the struggling man out of where he’d been hiding. There were cops and an ambulance at one end of the street, and a stream of people who were headed out of the neighborhood. He strode over, frowning down at the masked man when there was a moan and the sound of falling brick and glass, and a woman covered in brick dust staggered out of a trashed storefront, shoving her glasses that had been askew on her up her nose. He belatedly realized it was Darcy when he heard a curse over his earpiece from Clint and Tony combined.
“Hey, kiddo,” Tony said, but Darcy stopped, stared at her feet and the team could see that what looked like a doll on the ground was actually the broken body of a baby.
Darcy’s head snapped up and the mother of the baby was leaning brokenly against a pile of rubble, also obviously dead and she threw up a hand over her gasp. A noise from the street impinged over the ringing in her ears and she saw Doom on his knees, and saw red.
Everyone watched in bemusement as Darcy marched over to Victor Von Doom, no one paying attention to the belated arrival of the Fantastic Four.
“What the ~fuck~ were you thinking?” she shrieked, moving around the Iron Man suit and snatching Von Doom’s mask off of his face and winging across the street with all of her strength.
The startled man opened his mouth but Darcy snatched him up by his collar, dragging him clumsily to his feet, her shorter stance making him stoop over since she had a death grip in his collar and cape. She yanked him behind her and stopped, making sure his head was bent down so he could see the baby's body too.
“Was this stupid shit worth it? Was it worth his life, or the life of his mom,” Darcy demanded, shakily pointing over to where the mom was then she shook him like a rat terrier. “I don’t give a FUCK if you have daddy issues, so do we all. I don’t give a FUCK if you feel sad because you were dumped, it happens to EVERYONE. BUT THIS is not the right way to deal with your stupid shit!” she shouted into the dumbfounded man’s face. “Get fucking therapy like the rest of us,” she finished before pushing back so hard that he staggered. Then she pulled out her taser and tased the living daylights out of him.
“Damn!” Tony said admiringly and Steve started towards her, but she sharply held up a hand and everyone froze. She left Doom collapsed on the ground and bent over to pick up the baby, staggering over to lay the lifeless body on its mother’s lap, before she collapsed in bawling sobs.
Out of nowhere, a leather clad Bucky strode into the mess and gathered his granddaughter in his arms.
“C’mon, sweetheart,” he crooned. He pulled her to his feet and took a handkerchief out of his back pocket and wiped her face, then put the fabric over her nose. “Blow.” She obeyed with a cross of a laugh and a sob and wrapped her arms around him, shuddering.
“Are you hurt?” he asked, professionally lifting her chin to check her eyes before patting her down for other injuries.
“I feel like a building fell on me,” she said, hissing as he pressed on her side.
“Not broken, but let’s get you checked out,” Bucky said. He shot Steve a look and slowly walked his grand-daughter out of the area.
The sound of slow clapping startled Steve and he turned around, and he saw a policeman clapping and it became contagious as people in the area who’d watched joined him. Tony shrugged and gestured to Doom, “Grab the idiot. I’ll try to move the doombots to the side so it will be easier to clean up.”
Natasha dropped out of a tree and pulled out the special cuffs they used for superhuman prisoners, “I’ve got the idiot. You, Cap and the Fantastic Four can move all of the trash.”
Steve made a face but worked with the others to move the scraps of the bots, watching as paramedics and firefighters continued to look for survivors and hopefully not more dead. A couple of firefighters had already taken the mother and her baby, and Steve’s gut churned with the waste of life and seeing Darcy so broken.
Around the corner and out of sight of the carnage Bucky whistled sharply and a cab stopped. He gently tucked Darcy in and moved to the other side and got in beside her, giving Becca’s address. He caught her trying to suppress a shiver and he wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. He felt helpless in preventing bad things from hurting his family.
“She was right, you know,” the cabbie piped up, meeting Bucky’s eyes in the mirror. “These idiots need their noses rubbed into the messes just like puppies. Maybe Doom will think twice about letting his stupid robots out again.” Apparently the whole debacle has been streamed live.
“Unfortunately, some people are just evil,” Bucky rasped. He checked his phone and put it away.
Darcy coughed into her hand and leaned back. “I think it’s a mix of both. Troubled pasts and monsters. There doesn’t seem to be an in between, like Chihuahuas.”
Bucky raised an eyebrow, “What does a dog have to do with this?” he asked, mystified by her comment while the cabbie snorted.
Darcy waved a hand. “You meet someone walking a chihuahua and the dog will either try to eat your ankles or they are sweet and you can pet them.”
Bucky chuckled, “Sure, dollface. Whatever you say.” The cab pulled over on the tree lined street and Bucky leaned forward and paid the cabbie and helped a stiff and sore Darcy out of the cab. The door to Becca’s house flew open and Linda trotted down the steps to meet them, Erin on her heels and Becca in the doorway. He started to step back but Darcy grabbed his leather jacket and jerked him forward, and he sighed, resigned to his fate.
In the house Darcy let Linda professionally check her over, where she confirmed that there was no concussion, but she did have two cracked ribs.
Becca hugged Bucky, cuffed him sharply on the back of the head, “Hey!’ he’d protested, and hugged him again before going to Darcy and kissing her forehead.
“What’s that for?” Darcy asked, shifting uncomfortably as Linda settled back.
“For being strong and brave. Nothing like your good for nothing grandfather,” Becca said.
“Hey!” Bucky protested again. “It wasn’t my fault my brains were scrambled!” He sullenly sat in the chair that Becca pointed at.
“I wasn’t referring to that,” Becca sniped. “If it wasn’t for Darcy you’d not even be here today.”
Frank, still on leave and his face still sporting a rainbow, chuckled from behind his newspaper. “She’s got ya there, Uncle Bucky.”
Rolling his eyes, Bucky scrunched lower in his chair and pouted. “I see how it is. Pick on your elders.”
Linda’s phone buzzed and she checked it. “Danny’s on his way home, he’s picking up the kids, Erin. Darcy, let’s get you upstairs and cleaned up.”
“Ugh. Stairs,” Darcy sighed, then yelped because Bucky had gotten to his feet, swung her up into his arms and started up the stairs.
“I can do stairs!” she complained, Linda following behind with a grin on her face. Erin on her heels, because apparently gossip was in the cards too.
“Take a shower, kid,” he said, gently setting her down in front of the bathroom.
“We’re gonna have to talk, you know,” she called cheerfully.
“Ugh,” he replied, “Talking.” He smiled at her giggles as he trotted downstairs.
Back downstairs Bucky paused, then shrugged philosophically and took off his leather coat and went to the hallway to hang it up. Then he pushed his sleeves up. Better to get everybody used to it now.
“Leave your arsenal out there too, Bucky boy,” Becca’s voice called out and he heard Henry and Frank chuckle.
He sighed and removed a few of his hidden weapons and dumped them in his inner coat pocket. He returned to the living room and sat on the loveseat with a sigh.
Henry smirked at him. “How many do you still have on you?”
“Never you mind,” Bucky replied, thumbing his nose at his brother in law.
The front door opened and in tumbled two boys, a teenaged girl, book bags, and a harassed man with a suitcase that he shoved to the back of all of the bookbags dumped on the floor. “Hey, you brats come back here and get your bookbags!”
The crowd of kids stopped in the doorway when they caught sight of Bucky on the loveseat. Danny pushed through with a grumble, “It’s just Uncle Bucky, guys.”
“Hi Uncle Bucky,” Erin’s daughter said shyly. She walked over to him and he stood, heart full because she looked like his ma.
“Hi doll, what’s your name?” he asked.
He pulled her into a quick hug before looking over at Becca. “She looks like ma.”
“I know,” Becca replied softly.
The two boys came over and held out their hands, “I’m Jack and this is Sean,” the oldest boy explained, shoving the younger boy when he crowded him.
“Who do I look like?” Sean asked after shaking Bucky’s hand with a grin. Jack sighed and rolled his eyes at his little brother, who promptly shoved him. “What? I wanna know!”
Bucky pursed his lips, “You both look like ~your~ ma.”
“And thank Jesus and Mary for that,” Becca stated, making Frank snort and Danny complain volubly.
Danny came over and gave him a firm handshake and backslap. The ‘welcome back’ made Bucky’s eyes sting.
The girls came back down and Darcy carefully flopped down beside Bucky on the loveseat, leaning over so her head rested on his shoulder. She was wearing fuzzy red pajama bottoms with Steve’s shield printed all over and a Culver hoodie in purple and purple fuzzy socks. Her face was bruised though and Bucky wished all over he coulda spared her. “How are ya feeling, kid?”
“Like someone let the Doombot step on me,” she complained lightly.
“You saw the Doombots? We’re they ~awesome~?” Sean asked excitedly.
Darcy regarded her cousin, “You know, they are pretty cool, if they weren’t being used to do bad things. Imagine all of the good they could do!”
Sean’s eyes went wide, “They could lift cars off of people and help after stuff happens, moving the big pieces of building instead of Uncle Steve!”
She snapped her fingers at him, “See? That’s a better use than having them tromp all over and damage buildings and hurt people.” Her breath hitched when she said that and Bucky put his arms around her shoulder and hugged her, but she was a plucky dame and didn’t let her distress show on her face. She did wince when she moved wrong.
“You doing alright, doll?”
Darcy pushed her glasses up her nose and groaned. “I feel like thoroughly pounded…”
“Language,” Linda intercepted mildly.
“Such a mom,” Darcy replied. “Crap, I feel like crap.” A phone warbled what sounded like a song in the bottom of someone’s purse and Darcy jolted stiffly to her feet and lurched over to grab her dusty book bag, digging into it like a prairie dog before coming up triumphantly with her phone, “Jane? What? No, I’m okay. Thor told ya, huh? Yeah, I was ~pissed~. Probably not my finest moment,” she continued, wandering into the other room to continue talking.
“What ~happened~?” Jack asked. He could feel the undercurrents of something that the adults weren't saying.
“Darcy was in a building when one of those robot things knocked part of it in. She saved a lot of people but was knocked out when some of the building fell on her,” Becca explained patiently.
“What was she going to say?” Jack asked, but subsided at his mom’s look. Danny and Henry snorted in unison.
Frank put down his paper, glaring at Danny who had been trying to sneak his coffee. “Get your own.” He caught Bucky’s eye and saw the older (younger) man was hiding a smirk. He realized now why Danny had always been his ma’s favorite-he was the most like Bucky in temperament.
“Someone get Uncle Bucky his photo album,” Rebecca ordered. Sean scrambled over to the old bowfront cabinet and grabbed the photo album that had seen more use in the past year than in the previous ten years.
“My photo album?” he asked in surprise, smiling at Sean came over and handed it to him.
“We call you Uncle Bucky, but are you really?” Sean asked, head tilted as he regarded him.
Bucky shrugged, “I guess I am. Your grandma is my kid sister.”
“Great,” Erin interjected, “She’s my grandmother and the kid’s ~great~ grandmother.”
“So I’m probably your great uncle? I mean, Frankie would be my nephew and Danny’s Frankie’s son, and you’re his grandson. Hell, I think I’m lost,” he confessed and Becca laughed.
“Were you frozen too?” Sean asked. Jack looked up from his phone because he was curious
With a hitch of breath, and understanding he needed to keep it simple, Bucky only nodded agreement, “Mostly, yeah. It’s why me and Stevie are still this age and your ~great~ grandma is older than the hills.”
Becca smacked Henry hard on the arm when he laughed. “Ow! I’m older than you, you know!” he complained.
Bucky had opened the photo album and stopped in shock. On the first page was a hand-colored portrait of Connie DeAngelo. A thousand memories swamped him. His and Steve’s double date, the Stark Expo, and everything that happened after.
“Connie was pregnant when I left?” he croaked, throat tight.
Darcy came back into the room and Bucky could see the shape of Connie’s face in Darcy’s and suddenly Darcy as his granddaughter wasn’t an abstract concept.
“It’s how you became a grandpa,” she said as she sat back down and turned the page in his numb fingers. There were black and white photos of a baby boy and he listened as Darcy told him the story of her father, his son, who had died before she was born, like it had been supposed of him. Connie was smart and didn’t settle for being a single mother, but fell for a nice guy who raised their son like his own.
The story of the exploding cannon made him wince, but he’d seen it happen and knew it was something that just exploded in an instant, nothing anyone could do then to prevent it.
He looked at Becca, “What was he like?”
Becca rolled her eyes, “Oh Jesus and Mary, he was just like you. Didn’t want to settle down, dated someone new every month and every new duty station. There were a couple of times we thought he’d settle down but not til he met Darla and it was like he’d been hit in the head with a hammer.”
The wedding photo made him smile. His kid was a good lookin’ guy and his gal was lovely. “How long was he in the Army?” he asked, squinting at the uniform, counting the stripes on the sleeve.
“Almost twenty-three years,” Frank said, getting up and heading to the refrigerator to grab some water.
Bucky whistled. “Old timer.”
A quieter conversation was going on between Nicky and Erin, reading over something in Nicky’s hands when a random word penetrated and suddenly Bucky snapped to his feet, the photo album dropping to the ground with a thud he pulled a knife, eyes blank. At the same time Danny popped to his feet, his service weapon pointed at his uncle and everyone in the room froze.
“Soldat, otoydi,” Darcy snapped, voice firm as she slowly got to her feet. She repeated it one more time before Bucky snapped back to himself and froze in horror as he stared at Danny and his weapon.
“I have to leave,” he said, voice trembling. “I have to go, I’m a danger to everyone.” He looked at his sister, who was half standing, a hand out towards him in unconscious plea. He looked back at Danny, “Be faster,” he ordered him, soldier to soldier before he turned and leapt over the fallen book and coffee table, and within seconds the front door slammed shut.
Darcy slumped back down onto the loveseat and Nicky burst into tears.
“How did you know what to say?” Frank asked Darcy as he settled back down next to his shaken son. Danny slid his sidearm back before he took the water his dad offered him, hands shaking slightly from the adrenaline rush, and the mom’s reassured the kids that everything was okay.
“Did you really think that the Black Widow would let me out, knowing that Grandpa Bucky was out in public and not give me six ways to defend myself against him?” she asked, a little tartly. She texted something on her phone and leaned forward to look at Nicky who was still shuddering with sobs, Erin’s arm around her shoulders as she tried to comfort her.
“It wasn’t your fault, Nick. A complete coincidence and even at this point we don’t know what you said to set him off, okay? If you want to blame anyone, blame Hydra for being racist, evil jerk faces.”
The front door slamming open made everyone jump and Danny half stood, hand on his weapon when a disheveled Steve appeared, Natasha behind him.
“He’s already gone, Cap. You can stand down,” Darcy told him dryly.
“Well, good God, I think we’ve had enough drama today, Steven!” Becca said irritably.
Natasha shoved Steve with her elbow, “Yeah, Steven!”
Darcy snorted and the boys giggled, the tension in the room releasing like a balloon.
“Tell me what happened,” Natasha asked, sitting beside Darcy and gently lifting the forgotten photo album.
“Uncle Bucky suddenly turned into the Winter Soldier, that’s what happened!” Danny snapped. He felt guilty, pointing his weapon at his uncle and he still didn’t know what alerted him.
“Danny was quick,” Darcy said, “As soon as Grandpa got to his feet and pulled his knife, Danny knew somehow and already had his weapon out before the rest of us even realized the danger.”
Natasha looked at Danny with interest, but Frank was already shaking his head. “Too many people in this family already work for shady government organizations, thank you.” She gracefully shrugged and turned her attention to Nicky and knelt down in front of her. “It was you, yes? You said something that triggered him. Do you speak Russian?”
“Only da and nyet,” Nicky said, “but we weren’t speaking Russian or anything, Mom was looking at my homework. It’s on Norse mythology, because Thor.”
Comprehension flowed through Natasha, “I know what one of the triggers is, Steve.” She looked at her grim team-mate, “Odin in Russian means ‘one’. Which means other numbers are probable, numbers that are personal.”
Darcy scrambled to her feet and bustled to her dusty backpack, pulling her Stark pad out. “I’ve seen that! I remember reading that,” she muttered, swiping frantically before, obviously looking for something. Natasha sat beside her to read over her shoulder. “There!” Darcy pointed and Natasha nodded her head.
“Everything placed in an email, what morons,” Nat said contemptuously.
“What?” Steve asked, touching each kid, checking them over and giving the still tearful Nicky a hug.
“Uncle Bucky said he had verbal triggers implanted by Hydra that would erase him and turn him back into the Winter Soldier,” Frank answered grimly.
“Bloody, buggering Nazis,” Becca spat, and everyone goggled at her.
“Language,” Steve rasped, a little dumbly as he stared at Becca.
“You’re not my mother, Steven Grant Rogers,” she snapped back.
Sean burst out in gales of laughter and the rest of the family had to smile as well.
Darcy leaned back and groaned. “Oh my god, you guys, really?”
“What codes and email?” Steve asked
Bucky sat on the rooftop, his spot sheltered from the street by the mechanical room for the building. He could feel the vibrations for the elevator as the buildings residents lived their lives. He felt suffocated by his jealousy-he had family and he could live a life if it weren’t for the fucking triggers that lurked in his brain. He’d almost hurt (hell, who was he kidding, if Darcy hadn’t stepped up he’d probably would have killed them) his family. Sweet faced Nicky, who looked so much like his ma. He shuddered in a deep breath when the whisper of sound of a foot scraping the gravel coating made him dart out of his shelter and throw a punch at…
“Whoa!” a young voice protested and Bucky found his metal arm caught by a kid who was dressed in a red leotard.
“Is your arm metal? That’s so cool,” the kid said, turning Bucky’s captured arm, looking at it curiously, though his features were covered by his ridiculous mask.
“Oh yeah, you’re that kid, Spider kook or something,” Bucky said, stepping back, relieved that the kid let his arm go. For a kid he was strong, that’s for sure.
“Spider MAN!” the kid replied, and his voice cracked making Bucky chuckle, his shoulders relaxing at the absurdity of his life. I mean, seriously, first Daredevil in Hell’s Kitchen, then this kid from Queens.
“Well, Spider-kid,” Bucky snarked, “I know this ain’t Queens.” He snagged his leather jacket and shrugged into it. The roof still radiated heat but the air was getting cooler now that the sun was going down.
Spiderman huffed, and scuffed his foot. “I heard there was some other vigilante going by the Brooklyn Angel and I thought I’d introduce myself. Vigilante solidarity and all that.”
Bucky snorted. “I don’t who called me that, but I’m no angel.”
The superhero shrugged. “Girls. What can you do?”
The sound of a car’s squealing tires and the thunderous crash caught their attention and they both went to the building’s edge to investigate. There were three cars, one on it’s side and tires spinning while the other two were impossibly entangled, puffs of powder indicating airbags had deployed. A woman with blood pouring down her face was trying to get the doors open to her car when both men caught the sight of a trail of smoke. Bucky immediately dropped down, landing on someone’s balcony before dropping down onto the sidewalk below while Spider punk had swung in and was pulling the door open to the car where the weeping woman was.
Bucky peered into one car and the driver was plainly already dead. He check in back and it was empty so he moved to the car that was on it’s side, and he could see a guy pounding on the windshield.
Bucky could see more smoke and he looked at the guy, “I’m gonna bust the windshield, cover your face,” he ordered and once the guy did he broke the windshield with a quick punch and cleared out the shattered glass. He helped the guy out and over to the sidewalk where Spiderman had put his rescues when the car’s engine burst into flames. The sound of sirens was getting closer when he heard a ‘woof’ and the guy he rescued wailed, “Patty!”
Keeping a wary eye on the flames Bucky boosted himself up at the same time Spiderkid landed on the car and they both peered in to see a shivering golden retriever at the bottom. The costumed hero tilted his head. “I can’t web him, webbing and hair don’t mix. I can get in and hand him up.”
The flames were getting hotter and Bucky nodded, “Do it.”
The cops pulled up and firefighters had arrived but Bucky ignored them as the dog was handed to him. He cradled the frantic dog who bathed his face enthusiastically .
“Here, hand him to me. You gotta get down, that fire is spreading,” a cop ordered and Bucky realized it was and he pulled Spiderman unceremoniously up, ignoring the yelp. He threw them both off and grabbed the cop and dog, covering them protectively as the car went boom! And flames and pieces of metal flew like shrapnel in concert with shrieking sirens and shouts from around them. After a minute a firefighter bellied up in full gear and led them around burning patches of debris, over to a fire engine, patting Bucky’s head for a second, “Just a little fire,” the guy said. To Bucky’s surprise the three of them and the dog were okay, though his jacket was never going to be the same.
“You okay?” he asked the cop who nodded and staggered off to hand the dog to its tearful owner.
“You’re bleeding,” the firefighter pointed out and Bucky looked down to see his black jeans had holes of various sizes and he ~was~ bleeding. He could already feel the sting and the slight itch of healing. “Not a problem,” he said.
Spiderman shook his head slightly, “My ears are ringing, yeesh,” he complained. “But thanks.”
“What happened?” Another cop asked as the other firemen started in on the fire to keep it from spreading to the other cars.
Bucky and Spiderman both shrugged. “No idea, we didn’t see it.” Hair fell into his face, the last rubberband giving up the ghost, probably helped on by the flames, and Bucky made an impatient sound and pulled a rubber band out of his pocket and pulled his hair back into a bun.
“You’re the Brooklyn Angel!” the cop said with surprise, and Bucky made a face. “Can’t help ya, pal,” he said and turned and disappeared into an alley.
The cop looked at Spiderman. “Hey, as far as I know he’s just a helpful citizen.”
Back home, Darcy and the family were making plans about how to help Bucky, whether he wanted the help or not.
Peter had absently noticed the a lot more soldiers in the city. Small groups of four or five in a bunch of different areas. He realized that he'd seen more as he'd been webbing across the roofs to meet the Brooklyn Angel. As he headed back to Queens he caught sight of another group, and abruptly realized that something must be up, something bad. He dropped onto a rooftop and lips pursed, he sent a text to Tony knowing he’d start investigating what the hell was going on.
Chapter 15: End of the Line
Bucky is pretty tired of everyone getting up in his business, but everyone really doesn't care.
Shuri contacted JARVIS, who contacted Tony who contacted Bruce because brain science wasn’t one of his many and vast specialties. Bruce read over what she sent and they babbled back and forth about synapses, temporal and parietal lobes and things Tony never wanted to hear about again.
At the same time Tony was monitoring the groups of suspicious soldiers that were roaming the city, JARVIS plotting real time on a map when Pete or someone else reported a group.
Having a sixth sense about most things that were after him, Bucky avoided areas that were easily turned into an ambush, keeping to the roofs or crowds.
One late afternoon Bucky was loitering on Macy’s rooftop downtown, frowning at the soldiers that were trying to be stealthy. And doing a terrible job of it, when his phone buzzed.
“Manners, I swear they went the way of the dodo bird in the forties,” Tony’s voice lamented in his ear.
Bucky smiled, “What’s up, old man? You sound like a disapproving nonno. You want I should get off of your lawn too?”
“Very funny, Barnes. Junior heard something from someone who heard something and I think it’s a definite threat. Can you stop by?”
Looking at the angle of the sun in the sky, Bucky replied, “Be there is twenty?”
“We’ll keep digging for information,” Tony senior replied and disconnected.
“You know, I’m glad to be dealing with regular police stuff,” Danny said un-ironically as he methodically pounded on his keyboard. “Drug dealers are so much easier to deal with than Nazis or giant robots or aliens.”
“God-damnit, Reagan,” Carlisle barked from across the bullpen, “You better not have jinxed us or imma gonna rip out your tongue and wear it as a necktie.” The very black, Army special forces veteran and now NYPD detective was glowering at Danny.
“Army, who knew you were so superstitious?” Danny teased.
“Jar head, if something happens…”
“There’s a medical chopper that just crashed downtown,” their Captain called into the bullpen and Danny ducked the stapler that Carlisle winged at him, grabbing his gun as they headed out.
Eddie smacked Danny on the back of the head, making him yelp.
20 minutes earlier-
Bucky was racing across roof tops, headed towards St. Victors, heart pounding. Again, he wasn’t going to be strong enough or fast enough to stop a tragedy happening to his family.
Spiderman was winging through the concrete canyons when he caught sight of the hospital helicopter lift off of St. Victors, its nose going down to gain speed when suddenly the rotors seemed to seize, and the huge machine seemed to shudder in the sky.
Bucky watched in horror as the helicopter seemed to stall, and start to drop like a rock.
Spiderman starting shooting webbing, anchoring to buildings and shooting more grabbing the helicopter and, shoulders straining as the weight of the machine violently jerked him forward.
Inside of the medical chopper Linda bit her lip to keep from screaming. Convinced she was going to die, never see Danny or her babies again, even as the pilot was cursing up a storm as he fought the controls and gravity. She swallowed her screams and held onto the gurney that their unconscious patient lay on, when the whole machine juddered and stopped midair.
“What?” the pilot blurted. “Linda?”
“I don’t know,” Linda replied, heart in her throat. She was about to give their patient a fatal dose of pain killers through the infusion pump so they wouldn’t suffer when they fell, but abruptly realized that the helicopter was hanging suspended between St. Victors and the office building across the street like a giant dragonfly in a spiders web, so close she could see open mouthed people in the windows.
“Will it hold?” someone shouted at Spiderman, who was grunting as he used more webbing.
“Probably? Maybe? I don’t know!”
Bucky nodded. He removed his jacket. “I’m going to get them out!” he shouted.
“Do it quick!” Spiderman shouted back as the whole thing dropped a foot then rose just as abruptly as the webbing expanded then contracted.
Taking a deep breath, Bucky took a running jump and arms and legs windmilling, landed on the tail, his weight making it shudder and causing Spiderman to shout in alarm and add more webbing. He caught Linda’s wide-eyed surprise, “I’m getting the door. Get ready to come to me.” He grabbed the door and jerked it open, ignoring the clatter of small items sliding out.
“My patient needs to go first,” Linda said firmly, her face white but calm. The pilot had already unbuckled and scrambled into the back with Linda, causing the whole thing to lean slightly.
The sound of repulsors brought Bucky’s head around. “Stark.”
“Russian Pop,” Iron Man replied.
“Can we get everyone out!” Spiderman shouted, the whole thing sinking again.
“Get the patient,” Bucky barked at Ironman and the pilot and Linda worked feverishly releasing the gurney and getting it to the doorway where Iron Man grabbed it and the patient and swooped away.
Bucky swung into the helicopter and leaned forward to shout at Spiderman, “How much longer?”
“Not long,” he shouted back and used more webbing.
“Okay, we’re going to…” he began but Iron Man roared back. “Linda, you and the pilot go now,” he ordered.
Iron Man gathered them both up and shot straight up. Unfortunately, the heat from the repulsors caught the webbing and the webbing gave up, making the copter begin to drop. Bucky leapt out into space and was caught with more webbing and swung up alongside Spiderman and they watched as the machine dropped onto the street below and exploded. The boom and the resulting car alarms and the sound of crashing glass was loud, but it looked like that everyone had been evacuated from the immediate area so that was good.
“Well crap, I was trying to avoid that,” Spiderman groused.
“Hey, you saved three people’s lives, one of them my niece so I’m grateful,” Bucky pointed out. The sound of other helicopters, news and police, in the sky made Bucky make a face. “I’m gone. See you around, Spiderkid.”
“That’s Spiderman!” Peter shouted, wincing as his voice cracked. After a moment Iron Man landed beside him with a thump and looked down at the firefighters dealing with the fire on the street.
“Well, that was a dramatic ending. Good rescue though.”
“I was hoping the webbing would hold,” Peter complained, inspecting his web shooters and realizing that he was on empty and pulled another out of his concealed storage pocket in his suit.
“We’ll work on something new that’s more impervious to heat,” Tony consoled. “C’mon, they want me and by extension, you, to move the debris off of the street.”
“Fine,” Peter huffed and swung down, Iron Man behind him.
On the roof of St. Victors, Linda was conferring with her head nurse about the patient’s status, resolutely ignoring the fact she’d almost died. The pilot (obviously former military) was stoic but obviously in shock as the emergency staff swarmed them. The Chief of Staff of the hospital asking questions about what happened.
“We should be dead,” the pilot told the man abruptly. “I flew that thing yesterday and it worked perfectly, then checked it over carefully this morning, it’s really hard to break these birds. I know what the hell I’m doing, I’ve been flying for fifteen years. All I can think is sabotage.”
“Sabotage?” the Chief parroted in shock.
The door to the roof opened and several police and feds spilled out and everyone was whisked away.
Bucky lurked in the hallway until he caught sight of Linda and she saw him at the same time and her face crumpled and he swept her into a hug, crooning wordlessly as she sobbed into his shoulder.
“You’re fine, you’re fine, it’s okay,” he whispered, ignoring the milling Feds in their marked windbreakers.
“Are you her husband?” someone asked and Linda choked a laugh back and took the handkerchief Bucky offered her and wiped her eyes and blew her nose.
“Uncle,” Bucky offered briefly. “I’ll get Danny.”
“Thank you, Uncle Bucky,” she smiled and kissed his cheek. He responded with a bright smile and chucked her chin before striding away.
Danny kept checking his phone anxiously as he helped direct traffic. The crashed helicopter was lying on its side, burned and broken in a couple of pieces, in front of the hospital his wife worked. His only consolation was that witnesses said there were no casualties due to the superheroes currently in front of him.
As Spiderman and Ironman lifted pieces of the machine onto the back of a flatbed hauler Danny abruptly noticed several Mob types loitering in the area, including Joey ‘Three Guns’ Boccho leaning against the wall of St. Vics' and the big, bulky mob enforcer gave him a genial nod and Danny’s eyebrows rose up as high as they would go but he nodded politely back while his inner ‘what the FUCK’ screamed.
The familiar sound of a military Humvee made Danny glance over his shoulder and he assumed that they were there for traffic control, though he did question why the it was armed to the teeth.
The doors to the hospital slid open and a shrill whistle caught his attention and he saw uncle Bucky standing to the side gesture at him. Danny’s heart fell because if his uncle was there then something has happened to Linda. He grabbed a patrolman and stationed him where he’d been directing traffic before he sprinted to the hospital.
Bucky stopped his incoming rush, both hands on his upper arms. “Take a breath, Linda is fine.”
Heart beating out of his chest, Danny stopped and whooped in a breath, then another, before he nodded at his uncle. “Okay. What the fuck happened?” he asked.
“I got a call from a friend, he said there was a threat to Linda. Turns out someone sabotaged the medical helicopter but Spiderman caught it,” Bucky reported. He escorted Danny between patients, cops and NTSB and pulled him into the elevator.
“Jesus,” Danny blasphemed sharply. “Who was it?”
Bucky shrugged, “Some drug dealer. I don’t know but Tony took care of it.”
“Tony?” Danny parroted but realized that he already knew a ‘Tony’, which explained the mob guys stationed around the hospital.
“Tony Galvano Senior, Stevie and me go back a ways,” Bucky explained briefly.
“Tony Galvano of the Galvano family,” Danny parroted flatly.
Bucky smirked, “Hey, before I was a war hero I may have run numbers.”
Danny facepalmed and then the elevator doors opened and he saw Lynda and everything but her dropped off of his radar.
Rikers Island Prison-
Tony nodded genially at the prison guard and sat down in the chair across from the man he’d came to see. The other man was in his prison blue uniform, chambray top and dungaree bottom, handcuffed to the table and feet in shackles, a sign the prison considered him a dangerous man.
“You’re not my abuelo,” Luis Delgado remarked, eyeing the slight, white haired old man in front of him. The old man was wearing grass green slacks and a polo shirt in a pale green with a hideous plaid windbreaker. He looked like someone’s papi about to head out to golf, just not his.
“Eh, I had to tell them something,” Tony waved a hand negligently.
“Then why are you here?” Luis asked imperiously, like he was better.
Tony smiled mirthlessly. “You young punks, don’t like getting busted by cops? What the hell, let’s murder the cop’s wife. That will solve your problems, only real life doesn’t work that way.”
The other man’s face shuttered and he stiffened. “I think we’re done here.” And tried to stand but was hampered the cuffs.
“Sit down, you fuck,” Tony barked. “I’m gonna give you a life lesson.”
Luis glanced over at the guards but now he realized they were deliberately ignoring what was happening in the room, and he felt the first frisson of uncertainty.
“See,” Tony sat back, “Cops and the Families go way back,” he began and watched with satisfaction as the penny dropped on the two bit drug dealer. “And while we’ve had our differences, there’s been a lot of mingling, if you will, between the two.”
“You mean corrupt cops,” Delgado replied evenly.
“Eh, that too, but I meant long relationships, relationships that go back to when everybody was so poor that cops and the Family shared food, information, protected our town from outsiders and upstarts. The Sicilians,” Tony pointed at himself, “The Micks, the Polacks, the Russkis etcetera. We stood back to back against the Nazis and the Fascists and sometimes even our own government to protect our families, our communities and our city.”
Delgado rolled his eyes insolently. “Was there a point to this history lesson?”
“You outsiders don’t appreciate our history, trying to muscle in where you’re not wanted,” Tony replied. “The wife of that cop? Granddaughter of a Polack WWII hero from Greenpoint, married to a Mick Cop from Brooklyn who happens to be family to Bucky Barnes.” The old man smirked at the shock and stood. “Yeah, THAT Bucky Barnes, World War II hero ~and~ best pal of Captain America. Oh, and Bucky, Cap and I go way back. Circles within circles,” he said cheerfully as the other man started to get an inkling of how deep the shit he was now in.
“She survived, by the way,” Tony threw out as he walked to the door and knocked on it twice. “But your survival? Eh.” He shrugged, waggling his hand back and forth and walked out, leaving the ashen drug dealer behind in the room.
Bucky stepped out of the hospital, checking out the pieces of downed helicopter that were on the back of the flatbed truck and shook his head. It had been too close. He smirked at Spider kid as he began to cross the street when suddenly the sound of weapons charging and men shouting startled him.
“Winter Soldier! Get on your knees! On your knees! Hands on your head!” the shouts came from different directions and Bucky froze in the crosswalk as civilians started to run in every direction, startled screaming bouncing off the buildings.
He castigated himself for getting too comfortable, he’d ~known~ there were soldiers in the city but had dismissed it. He slowly sank to his knees onto the street, hands folded on top of his head, ignoring the fascinated people who were in the cars at the stoplight.
A soldier in fatigues, rifle at his shoulder started to head for him, three soldiers behind, armed as well.
“No! You can’t arrest him!” a female voice shouted and a slight form darted out to stand defiantly in front of him.
“Ma’am,” another soldier with a squad on the ground sounded exasperated, “He’s dangerous, please get out of the way.” The squad of four had stopped, waiting, expecting, the civilian to move.
“He’s the Brooklyn Angel and you cannot have him,” she replied stoutly. At this point Bucky had gotten a good look at her and she was young, blue and green hair piled on her head, fuzzy boots, blue jeans and he abruptly realized she was the dame he’d saved in that alley in Queens.
“What she said,” a Sikh taxi driver got out of his little yellow prius and went to stand beside her, arms crossing his chest defiantly. “He is of Brooklyn and he is ours.”
Bucky wanted to laugh and cry. He was sure there were snipers on the buildings, he’d seen the glint out of the corner of his eye. “Hey,” he croaked, “Don’t do this. I don’t want you hurt.”
“Nah, Mr. Bucky,” a voice said as a big man lumbered up beside him, and he recognized Tony Jr.’s man and the man stood beside him, implacable as a rock. “They can’t have you.”
Spiderman swept down and landed lightly on Bucky’s other side. “I knew something was up,” he said, standing straight, slight arms crossed against his chest. “I’ll take you out of here if it gets messy,” he murmured.
More and more people were stepping into the street and surrounding Bucky to the point that the baffled soldiers had backed up to their vehicle and were calling for orders.
“Isn’t it interesting that the Army thinks they can come into ~our~ city and take one of ours without due process,” Danny’s voice rang out over the camera’s flashing and the people’s excited voices as they filmed the entire thing live on their Facebooks and Twitter accounts, because it had become a serious media event by this point.
“Excuse me, excuse me,” he said as he muscled through the protective crowd.
Bucky closed his eyes from where he was still on his knees until he felt the air displaced in front of him and he opened them to see Danny’s smirk as his nephew knelt in front of him.
“You gotta tell them to stop. The Army is all over the place, someone’s gonna get hurt.” Bucky told him desperately.
“Oh, I think that we’re not gonna have to worry about it, Uncle Bucky,” Danny said wryly and pulled Bucky to his feet, and Bucky could only stare at the sight around him.
The street was filled with people. People from Brooklyn and the surrounding area, mob guys, hipsters, mom’s with babies strapped to their chest, cabbies, cops, and more. There was a line of people in front of the Humvee and all of the soldiers has retreated to it, a senior NYC policeman was having a serious discussion with the Army Lieutenant, full of head shakes, pointing and arm waving.
“Danny!” a voice called and Bucky and Danny’s head swiveled to see Frank and Steve moving through the crowd. Stevie was wearing his famous suit, but the cowl was off and his blond head was like a beacon, clearing the path to them.
“Captain America!” people were murmuring.
“Great, I’m never gonna hear the end of this,” Bucky groaned. Danny swallowed a chuckle as his dad and Steve made it to them.
“Bucky Barnes,” Steve said with a giant grin and he wrapped Bucky up in a hug, in the middle of Brooklyn’s streets, in front of God and everybody.
“Punk,” Bucky murmured back into Steve’s shoulder, eyes closed against the burn of tears.
Becca and Darcy were both crying as they watched the news, watching as their city surrounded Bucky with their love and support.
Epilogue-a year later
“No,” Bucky said, shaking his head at the man in front of him. “I don’t want to be part of the Avengers. I know I told you this already,” he added with exasperation, pointing the greasy wrench he was holding with emphasis.
“C’mon Buck,” Steve wheedled from the stool he was perched on, watching as Bucky fiddled with the car he was fixing.
It had taken time for his pardon to make it through the courts, the entirety of his torture, brainwashing by Russia and Hydra and the elements of the U.S. Government who’d known about it (General Ross had been detained for a court-martial after his part of the Hulk debacle and his knowledge of Bucky’s imprisonment tanking the man’s career and Presidential aspirations) at the top of the news for months.
Princess Shuri and Dr. Banner had worked successfully to remove the triggers words after months of therapy, physical and mental. Support from his family and Brooklyn had meant more to him that anything.
“Punk, I love you, truly, but I don’t want to spend every waking moment with ya. I’ve got my own stuff, so give your boss a most sincere ‘Fuck off’ from me, will ya?” He stuck his head under the hood of Linda’s SUV.
Steve sighed, “Fine,” he pouted.
Bucky peered at him from where he was bent down and sighed, “You look like Sister Margaret took your book away.”
“She always gave it back,” Steve reminded him brightly.
“Cause she was a sucker for your baby blues but I’m made of sterner stuff,” Bucky retorted but his sternness was ruined by the smirk on his face as he tightened the bolt. He finished up and stood, wiping his greasy hands on a rag as he regarded his friend.
“I’m not ready, Stevie. I might not ever be ready.”
Steve looked at him for a long moment. “Yeah, okay.”
The backdoor opened and Becca stood there, hands on her hips. “Listen boyos, you need to get in here and wash up. Dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes.”
Steve and Bucky looked over at her and for a moment, both of them saw the stubborn young woman they’d left behind when they went to war. She’d had a long life they had missed, but they were grateful for the little time they had left with her. Though the way she was going, she might outlive them all.
“Is Darcy coming?” Bucky asked, letting the hood slam down.
“Of course, and she’s bringing Jane.”
“Kicking and screaming, I’ll bet,” Steve said wryly, making Bucky laugh. They’d gotten to know Darcy’s boss and she was a spit fire, standing toe to toe with anyone (usually Stark) when she felt like the other person was wrong. She was also a helluva friend to Darcy and for Bucky, that’s all that really mattered.
“C’mon, Punk. I’ll race you to the kitchen,” Bucky said, shoved Steve hard enough to fall over and raced for the back steps.
“Hey! Cheater!” Steve called and got to his feet, a grin on his face as he raced after the other half of his soul.
Holy Cats-this is DONE!!!