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The Nerd Awakens: How To Tear the Avengers Apart From Within (Just Not the Zemo Way)

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"Watch it, Barton! You almost knocked me off! You got any idea how far down it is?"

"Says the one who can fly." muttered Clint.

"Says the one who's crawling around the rafters!" retorted Sam.

Clint grumbled and expertly stood on the narrow beam, balancing his weight as he slid around the seated superhero and continued on his way.

Sam was on the alert. "Where you going??"

Clint sighed. "Out of earshot. Probably the attic."

"Wait, Avengers tower has an attic?? This I gotta see."

Clint said nothing, merely moving out of his way as they continued their precarious journey.

"How long you think before it's safe?"

"At least all night, I should say."

"Betcha ten bucks it's three."

"Technically it's one buck...."


(Three days prior:)

Steve glanced anxiously at his friend as they stepped into the elevator. As it began its long journey up, he clapped him on the shoulder.

"Buck. Cheer up, most of them have met you already."

"Some under very different circumstances."

"Do you remember any of them?"

"I might know when I see them. I sometimes do. Just tell me, Steve, did I hurt any of them?"

Steve hesitated for a moment, long enough for Bucky to look at him sharply.


"Buck, I...."

"Tell me."

Steve took a deep breath.

"Tony. He's gonna have a tough time with you. You... hurt him deeply. It's best if you don't know. He thinks you don't."

"Anyone else?"

"Natasha. She was guarding.... someone... And you shot him through her.
The others don't know you well. Some will not trust you, and some will be kind. I'm just telling it like it is.
Sam is learning to trust you. Mostly because you're my friend. I guess he trusts my taste because I'm friends him him.
Barton's gonna be pretty wary. But once he knows you, there's no one more loyal.
Thor doesn't know you. He'll be cordial and protective towards you if you're my friend.
Bruce... well, Bruce knows what it's like to be misunderstood. Feared. To fear yourself. No one knows that better than him. If you need someone and I'm not here, I'd talk to him.
And then there's some others, like Nick Fury, (Oh. You shot him too.) Thor's girl Jane, her assistant Darcy, etc. Those will judge you on your actions. (Which aren't very good so far in Fury's case. I'd steer clear of him for a while.)"

Bucky let his breath out in a shuddering sigh.
The elevator doors echoed his sigh as they slid open, and the two found themselves on the main floor of Avengers Tower.


Several of the avengers were there, mostly talking on the couches, while Tony lifted his hand and called out.

"Capsicle! You did make it. And your mutually frozen pal here. Hey."

He stuck his hand out in a friendly fashion to Bucky, but both could see the tension in his eyes. Bucky carefully held his metal arm behind him. He tentatively took the hand Tony offered him, but still avoided looking at him.

Tony turned and clapped his hands.

"Hey! Guys. This is Steve's pal Bucky. I'm sure we've all heard of him. Bucky, this is Clint, Natasha, Bruce, and Sam. You've met Sam."

Bucky and Sam exchanged a steely gaze that translated,
"You wait till Steve's out of this room...."

"Oh, and Darcy. Thor took Jane off to Asgard on a visit and both felt Darcy was unsafe for the Asgardians. So we got babysitting duty. Woot."

Darcy ignored Tony and didn't even bother glancing up from her phone before saying,

Tony paused and turned back with a scowl.
"What? Dibs on what?"

Darcy finally deigned to look up, looking on Tony with utmost pity.
"He's been on missions slash frozen for 75 years, so logically he hasn't exactly had time to catch up on the filmmaking industry. Dibs on showing him Star Wars, of course."

Natasha facepalmed while Clint laughed, Sam leaped up in his excitment, albeit about his hated foe. Star Wars is Star Wars. Tony sighed and said,
"Fine. Darcy. Indoctrinate the poor guy. I don't care. Movie room is down the hall to the left. Just ask Jarvis for Star Wars."

Bucky looked confused.
"Is this what you were telling me about? Color movies? I know about those."

To his surprise, Steve seemed just as excited.
"BUCK. This is different. The first time I watched it... well, just come on!"

"Wait, now??"

But Steve already had him by the arm.


Tony yawned into his coffee. It was 9:30 am.
"Jarvis, how late did they each stay up, and how many did they watch?"

"Agent Romanoff went to bed partway through the first film. Agent Barton and Wilson stayed through the third. The Captain fell asleep during the fourth, or the first prequel, and Ms. Darcy and Mr. Barnes stayed up through the remaining films."

"Wait, they watched them all?? And you need to work on your Star Wars description. That timeline is worse than quantum mechanics. How late were those two up? And how is that even possible?"

"My closest approximation is that Ms. Darcy and Mr. Barnes stayed up until 7:13 this morning, given the fact that they started at 5:42 last night, and allowing three minutes in between each film...."

"Yeah, whatever. Well. I hope he liked it. He'd better have."


Steve wandered in last, the others jumping on him to tell him how late (or early) the other two had stayed up. The only thing that kept them from busting into the movie room and waking them up was Bruce insisting that they wait for the captain to wake his friend up.

They crept in, Steve sneaking to the movie couch and shaking the two gently. Darcy scowled in her sleep and slapped Steve in the face, which pulled a flurry of giggles (yes, giggles.) from Tony and Sam.

Bucky, when Steve whispered something gently, was instantly up looking wildly about him. He blinked and then his face relaxed.

"Sooo..." Tony began, "Jarvis tells me you watched all of star wars."

Darcy sat bolt upright, wide awake at the mention of Star Wars.
"Yeah, what'd you think? We sorta fell asleep right after it finished."

To Steve's astonishment, he saw something he hadn't seen since he'd gotten Bucky back: Bucky smiled. And not just a half-sad "nice to see you, I barely know who you are" smile, either. This was Bucky from long ago.

Before he could get too wrapped up, Bucky's voice broke into his thoughts.
"It was so amazing!! Even just the first part, with that huge ship! How do they even do that! It was like... Hey Steve, do you remember that exhibit at the world fair? With the flying car? This made it look like everything is possible!"

He broke off as he looked suddenly confused with himself.
And all Steve could see was the excited young soldier who wanted to see the flying car.

He grabbed the startled Bucky and pulled him into a hug, laughing as his friends smiled and tiptoed out.


(Two hours later:)

Darcy laughed maniacally as she threw imaginary Sith lightning at Steve where he sat on the couch with Bucky rewatching A New Hope. After a second Bucky pulled himself away enough to reach out a metal arm and grab Darcy. She yelped as the cold metal pulled her over the edge of the couch and tumbled her onto it.

"Come on, partapine, stop zapping Luke long enough to watch the end of this."

Darcy looked outraged.
"It's PALPATINE you stuck up, half-witted, REALLY scruffy looking NERF-HERDER!!!"

Steve cringed. But Bucky merely laughed and sat glued to the screen.

And when Darcy suddenly grew quiet, he didn't notice till she said,
"You have much to learn, padawan. We are showing you Indiana Jones. Now."

When Bucky complained she said,
"Harrison Ford's in it...." in a wheedling tone.

Then she glanced at Steve and with a sly grin and leaned forward to whisper in Bucky's ear. He glanced at Steve, smirked, and said,
"Let's do it."

"Do what? Guys?"

"Darcy's gonna show me movies till I know more than you ever could."
"No fair."


Two days later the battle was no where near finished. Unfourtunately, the standard of "pop culture" was Darcy's. And her gauge of movies was rather confined to the nerdy. So when Bucky and Steve began a shouted competition across the tower of who could remember the most Star Trek quotes from "Balance of Terror", almost everyone had had it.

It started with Sam hollering at Bucky to stop (He never could yell at Steve. He was in eternal awe.) But Sam had no problem yelling at Bucky, shouting that he'd never win, so he might as well quit scaring redwing. This earned him a scowl so intense from Bucky, along with a "You underestimate my power," that Sam gave up and headed for the rafters.


Tony ended up blocking the hall leading to his bedroom door with a powerful electromagnet. He figured there wasn't anything he could do about Cap.


Clint showed up after a day out with his family, only to find his gear labeled "The Legolas Wannabe." He joined Sam in the rafters soon after that.


Natasha took a different approach. As Steve and Bucky were practice dueling with rapiers (who knows where they got them) and quoting The Princess Bride at each other, she slid into the room. One look at her face and Steve marched out like the star spangled banner was waiting out the door.

Bucky waited warily as she smiled, circled him like a shark, and said,
"Hey Barnes. если вы процитируете еще один фильм, я клянусь, что вытащу этот язык из черепа. ты застрелил меня. считайте это предупреждением о мести. понял?"

She waltzed smoothly out of the room.

Steve was waiting outside the door when Bucky came out. He looked genuinely surprised to see him still in one piece. And with a smile playing on the corners of his mouth.

"What did she say?"

"Oh, nothing much."


No one saw Clint or Sam for three days.


From that point on, Bucky made it a point to avoid references until finally one morning, as the team was gearing up, Nat turned to Bucky and asked,

"You got my spare knife?"

Bucky cast a sidelong glance at her.
"Nope. I've got a jar of dirt." He whispered under his breath.

For a moment nothing happened, then Nat's smoldering gaze turned and landed on him. Dead silence fell. And Bucky ran for his life.


After a knife battle and a narrow escape, he ended up finding the aerie in the attic that Sam and Clint made, and stayed there all night.


Legend has it that Nat helped Cap and left Tony's team because of the Star Wars reference Peter Parker made in the battle.