Chapter 1: Chapter 1
The target was on his knees, sobbing in a highly undignified manner. Bucky couldn’t contain his sigh of exasperation. Yeah, no one wanted to be assassinated, but seriously, have some fucking self respect.
“Francis Doyle.” As soon as Bucky spoke, the blubbering man in front of him shrieked and started to sob harder. Bucky rolled his eyes and began again. “Francis Doyle, you fucked up. You crossed Andrew Kidston, not a great idea at all, and now he has decided that you need to die.”
“Please,” he begged. “Don’t kill me. It was only once and I’m sorry. It wasn’t my fault.” His voice cracked. There were tear streaks running down is face and he was starting to hyperventilate.
Bucky rolled his eyes as he shook his head. Was this guy for real? “Dude, you diverted twenty kilos of coke and sold it to another buyer. Yeah, you got a higher price for it, but you pocketed the difference. Nice entrepreneurial acumen but you’re a fucking idiot. You had to know this would get back to him. And let’s be honest, he’s not exactly known for his gentle warnings.”
“Oh god,” Doyle’s shoulders shook as he sobbed into his hands. “I don’t want to die. I’m so sorry! I’ll pay you double whatever he’s paying you. I’ll pay you whatever you want! I just want to live!”
The crying was getting to be a bit annoying. That was the advantage to sniping someone. You didn’t have to listen to them whine or cry. The thought of the money was nice, and Kidston really was an asshole, but he knew Doyle’s money wasn’t enough to get him off the grid. Besides, he had other plans for Frances Doyle.
“Tempting, but I’m going to have to pass. Taking a bribe isn’t the mission here.” Bucky checked his watch. This was taking forever and he was getting cranky. It was too hot for this shit. He turned to check the perimeter.
“No!” Jesus, this guy was not going down without a fight. “Don’t kill me! Turn me into the cops or something. I’ll tell them everything. Whatever they want to know.”
Bucky paused and fixed his gaze on Doyle. He couldn’t believe that he was going to talk. Could it really be that easy? He lifted his gun and pointed it at Doyle. “What do you know?”
Doyle’s eyes widened and he drew a deep breath. “I know the supply chain from the street sellers to the source bringing it into the country. I know names. And I also know who was responsible for that Miami fiasco and where to find them. Turn me in and I’ll go to jail. Just let me live!”
Apparently, it was going to be that easy. Why couldn't they all be like this? This shit would take way less time if they did.
A quiet rustling from behind him was his only warning before a voice interrupted Doyle’s sniffling. “He’s spilling his guts already. Did you start the fun without us?” Natasha Romanov stepped out from the trees, Clint Barton at her side. “You were supposed to wait until we all could get in on the action.”
Without looking, Bucky knew Doyle’s expression was a mixture of fear and confusion. He’d seen it before. Each and every time Kidston sent him to ‘take care’ of a problem.
“No, I didn’t start without you.” He gestured to the man still down on his knees. “He’s just bargaining for his life.”
“Maybe he shouldn’t have been so fucking stupid then,” said Clint as he stepped forward, bow at the ready.
“Now Hawkeye, it people weren’t so stupid, we wouldn’t have a job.” Natasha crossed her arms and surveyed Doyle. “Are we sure that he’s a good candidate?”
Bucky nodded and holstered his gun. “Think so. He seems to have some good intel.” He stepped forward and pushed Doyle to the ground. “Since he seems keen to join, you can hit the road early. Just let me finish here.”
“What the hell is happening?” Doyle’s voice shook with fear. “Why are two of the Avengers here?”
“You’re getting your wish,” announced Bucky cheerfully. “They’re here to take you to the Feds. You get your life in exchange for everything you know.”
Natasha slid her bag of her shoulder and handed it Bucky. He reached in with a grimace and pulled out a bottle.
“This shit is so messy, I fucking hate it.” He dropped the bag and unscrewed the cap, looking down at Doyle. “Brace yourself, this’ll be messy as fuck.” Before waiting for a response, he poured the entire bottle over the stunned man.
“Barnes, you fucking asshole.” Clint was pissed. “We have to put him in our car and I just cleaned it.”
Bucky pulled out his phone. “Look dead,” he directed Doyle as he snapped photos. “Fuck you, Barton. I need proof that he’s dead. And this isn’t the first time, you should have known better. Bring a tarp next time.” He pocketed his phone and pulled Doyle to his feet.
“I remembered the tarp,” said Natasha, producing a zip tie for their new witness’s hands. “So we’re fine.”
Bucky nodded at the others. “Alright, then. I’ll see you guys soon. Tell Steve I’m fine.” He turned to Doyle. “Enjoy WITSEC. Talk lots, follow their rules, and you’ll live.”
He turned and walked towards his car. Yeah, he was damn lucky he wasn’t executed for treason or stuck spending the rest of his life in some solitary cell never to see the light of day again, but this assignment sucked ass. Fucking peacemaker Steve promising that somehow Bucky would make it up to the good ol’ US of A. Next thing he knew, Bucky was doing a string of undercover assignments pretending he was still a loyal assassin to Hydra.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
“Hey Winter Soldier! Rise and shine, boss wants to see you.”
The early morning wake-up call was delivered by one of the unnamed goons that existed around the place. Bucky never bothered learning their names. They were all the same: ex-special forces (although if they’d ever made it much past basic training, Bucky’d be shocked as hell), tough guy wannabees. Most of them were nothing more than assholes who wanted to be big shots.
Bucky was grumpy as hell being woken up unexpectedly. He had no idea what time it was as he rolled over and glared at the bedroom door.
Apparently, he wasn’t moving fast enough for that day’s asshole. “Come on, princess,” Unnamed goon #1 opened the door and sneered, “Move your ass.”
Bucky stood up slowly, stretching his muscles, and making sure that the jackass saw every one of the plates in his metal arm shift. He knew that tended to unnerve those fuckwits. And because Bucky was a bit of a snarky asshole, he liked watching them squirm. He pushed past the goon and swaggered out the door. Even though he had nothing to prove to those assholes, there was no way he was going to let them forget who he was. He was the Winter Soldier and they were going to remember that he didn’t answer to them. Steve always said he was considerate that way.
Speaking of Steve, Bucky needed to remember to give him a solid punch to the face for this fucking assignment. He hated this place.
Bucky walked down the hall, marvelling at the over-the-top decor that comes with being rich. Expensive artwork and useless sculptures everywhere. Any one of them could have set them up for years back when Bucky and Steve were each scraping by in Brooklyn.
He sauntered into the dining room wearing nothing but a pair of pyjama pants. No one liked the scars, but fuck them. They wanted the Winter Soldier so this is what they got. He flopped into one of the chairs across from Andrew Kidston, the crime boss Bucky was assigned to get intel on. Bucky surveyed the breakfast offerings before reaching for a cherry danish. Kidston’s assistant wrinkled her nose in disgust. He sent her a wink in return, knowing full well it would piss her off.
Kidston levelled him with an intense gaze. “I thought you had been trained to be a consummate professional. You were supposed to be a soldier who followed orders to a T.”
Bucky snorted in response, spraying crumbs across the table. “Yeah,” he began, his tone sardonic, “The Winter Soldier, at least the version that everyone thinks they knew, was nothing more than a Hydra tool. Nothing but a monster. The Soviets built him, Hydra reprogrammed him, and then used him to do all sorts of nasty things. The Winter Soldier was nothing more than a boogeyman. A scary story to tell those who dared step out of line.” Bucky could feel himself getting riled up, so he paused to collect his thoughts. Kidston took that as an opportunity to pounce.
“So, if you’re not the great Winter Soldier, why the hell did we hire you? I should have sent you packing when you came begging for a job.” The man was shaking in anger. Bucky assessed his employer. Kidston was pale, his clothes were rumpled, and he looked very unhappy.
Bucky smiled lazily as he lifted his arm and raised one metal finger. “Okay, first of all, I didn’t come begging for a job. Your boy standing at the door back there came recruiting me.” A second finger raised. “Second of all, just because I ain’t some brainwashed Hydra assassin anymore doesn’t mean I’m fucking helpless. I’m still the best there is in this business.” A third finger raised. “You’ve won the fucking lottery here. Bucky Barnes, expert sharpshooter with the Howling Commandos in World War 2, as well as the Winter Soldier, the brilliant Soviet-made Hydra assassin? There’s no way that much awesome rolled into one mere mortal could ever be a bad thing. You’ve got it made here.” Bucky lowered his metal hand and used it to reach for the rest of his danish. He popped it into his mouth, chewing slowly. “But I’m guessing you didn’t drag me out of bed at the crack of dawn to discuss this, so why the hell am I here?”
Kidston’s assistant, and he did know her name at one point but forgot it almost immediately, handed a tablet to her boss. He opened something on the table and slid it across the table to Bucky. There was a photo up on the screen of someone Bucky was familiar with.
“Black Widow was spotted sneaking into the manor. The guards lost sight of her, but we’re sure she’s still here.”
Bucky felt his stomach drop as the situation sank in. He had no idea what she was doing here or why she would risk his assignment. Something had to be seriously wrong for her to break protocol like this.
He looked to Kidston. “So, are you expecting me to hunt her down and beat the answers out of her? Cause I have to say, as good as I am, she’s as likely to kick my ass as I am hers.” Bucky slid the tablet back over to Kidston. “Rest assured that if she wanted you or anyone else here dead, you would be already.”
“No, I just want to know what the fuck the Black Widow is doing here. If she’s not here to kill me or something else, then there’s something seriously wrong. She wouldn’t be here for no reason.”
Bucky nodded and stood up. “Fine, I’ll go find her and ask.”
He padded down the hallway wondering how he could find Natasha. If she didn’t want to be found, he was going to have a hard time finding her.
The whole problem was quickly made irrelevant though when he opened his bedroom door and found a Glock levelled at his head.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
“Natasha,” Bucky greeted her. “I’m gonna need to know what you’re doing crashing my party here.”
Natasha holstered her weapon. “I came to find you. You’re in trouble. Your cover isn’t blown yet, but it could be soon. Doyle broke the rules and it probably won’t be long before it gets out that the great Winter Soldier let someone go rather than carry out the hit.”
“Fuck.” Bucky flopped on his bed, completely exasperated. There were rules for a goddamn reason. “I should have let the fucker die.”
Natasha started pacing around Bucky’s tiny room. “I know. He’s a useless asshole and did not deserve the second chance we have him.”
Bucky perked up. “Well, I could go kill him now. I’m guessing that Steve has already debriefed him and gotten every bit of useful information already. Odds are, he’s got nothing left to give.”
“No, jackass.” Natasha paused in her pacing to glare at Bucky. “You don’t get to kill him. He’s now a problem that we’re stuck with. We have to work with what we’ve got and get you out of here as soon as possible.”
Natasha blinked and Bucky knew she’d just realized he was in pyjama pants and nothing else. “Shouldn’t you put some clothes on?”
“Well,” Bucky drawled, casting a smirking leer towards her, “I might have had some time to get dressed this morning if someone hadn’t gotten caught on camera sneaking in here.”
“Bullshit,” spat Natasha, “I don’t get caught.”
Bucky snorted as he picked up a shirt.
“Yeah, well sweetheart, you did. You’re good, but even you can miss a camera. ‘Specially when it’s stuffed into a stupid teddy bear.” He paused. “Now, am I going to get some privacy here or are you planning on watching me dress?”
“Fucking nanny cams.” Nat was pissed. “And change idiot. It’s nothing I haven’t seen anyways. You’re overly fond of minimalism when it comes to leisure wear.”
Bucky looked affronted. “Hey now, all the important bits stay covered when I’m in the common area. And if you’d stop barging into my room with no notice, they’d stay off display there too. Besides, my shorts are still miles ahead of Barton’s fucking onesie. A koala, really? That man is a disgrace to snipers everywhere.”
Natasha rolled her eyes so hard, Bucky was surprised she didn’t strain something. “Alright, you’ve—”
She never got to finish her sentence because apparently unnamed goon #3 decided that he was taking too long and decided to check on him.
“Boss wants to know what’s taking—” he trailed off as he realized who exactly was in the room.
The look of surprise on the goon’s face might have been worth it if Bucky and Natasha weren’t well and truly fucked.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
They were well and truly fucked.
There were a lot of things that Bucky regretted over the years. He regretted never telling his mother that he loved her one last time. He regretted never seeing his sisters grow up. He definitely regretted making time with Dottie Clark. Not just because Steve had a crush on her, but also because she was a bit on the clingy side. Bucky was glad he shipped out before she started picking out china patterns.
To add to that this of regrets, and this one may actually top the list, was the very undignified yelp Bucky let out before throwing his shirt at the goon now standing in his room.
If they weren’t completely fucked, the dead silence that followed would have been absolutely hysterical. Even with the waves of frustration and disbelief that he could feel rolling off Natasha. She wouldn’t even look in his direction. Oh yeah, she was pissed.
“Uh…” Bucky had no idea what to even say to recover from this one.
The goon snapped out of his shock and Bucky suddenly found a gun pointed in his direction.
“No sudden moves asshole. Boss is going to want to know about this interesting development.”
For the second time in what had so far been a very short morning, Bucky found himself seated at the breakfast table wearing nothing more than pyjama pants. Although this time Natasha was sitting beside him and there were several guns pointed in their direction.
Steve would be the first to say that Bucky could talk his way out of anything. In fact, growing up it was pretty common for the motherly wrath of Sarah Rogers to be halted in its tracks by the boyish charm of a young Bucky Barnes.
However, Bucky was pretty sure that his sparkling personality wasn’t going to get them out of this. In fact, he had no idea what would get him and Natasha out of this alive.
Kidston sat there, staring at Bucky, his hands folded on the table in front of him. He stared silently, the minutes stretching on. Bucky knew it was an intimidation tactic. Let the silence go on and eventually someone will cave and start speaking to fill the void. Bucky had used this tactic many times himself during his assassin days. But he knew very well that this wouldn’t work on Natasha and him. Once, for a bet, the two remained silent for four days. They would have gone longer if Steve hadn’t pulled rank and demanded an end to the bet. Apparently, radio silence didn’t really work for missions.
Bucky let the silence go for another ten minutes. At that point he thought fuck it, it was cold in this room and he was wearing nothing but pyjama pants. He could concede this one. Let Kidston think he still had the upper hand. Admittedly, he did, but Bucky would be damned if he would accept that.
“So, I know you’ve probably got some questions,” Bucky began.
Kidston looked incredulous at Bucky’s audacity. Even Natasha let out a sigh of annoyance from beside him.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Kidston hissed. “You’re working with the Black Widow? The Avengers? What fucking game are you playing?”
Bucky paused, hastily trying to come up with some plausible scenario for all of this to make sense. Nothing was coming to mind and he was starting to scramble. He refused to panic. James Buchanan Barnes did not panic. Fuck that noise.
He did, however, jump a bit when Natasha spoke up from beside him.
“I missed him and wanted to spend time with him.”
Bucky froze and wondered if he really just heard what he thought he just heard.
“What, what the fuck?” Apparently, Bucky wasn’t the only one taken by surprise.
Natasha peered up at Kidston, a blush staining her cheeks.
“I missed him and wanted to spend time with him.” She repeated.
Kidston looked stunned with wide eyes and slack jaw. Bucky could only hope that he was hiding his own shock better than the other man.
“You two are dating?”
“We are.” She confirmed. “We have been for a while, but it’s hard to find opportunities to be together.”
“Really?” The disbelief in his voice was obvious.
Bucky was reeling from Natasha’s declaration. Yeah, it could sound plausible and was definitely shocking enough to tip the balance in their favour. Still, this was a bit of a gamble. And really, gamble might be a bit of an understatement. He was still pretty sure they were fucked.
Natasha slid her hand against Bucky’s, intertwining their fingers. Kidston’s eyes followed the motion.
“You’re expecting me to believe that you’re some sort of star-crossed lovers? Keeping your supposed ‘love’ a secret because you’re on opposing sides of the law?” Kidston scoffed derisively. “How stupid do you think I am?”
Bucky could feel the tension crawl up his spine. Natasha’s plan wasn’t working and they were going to have to fight their way out of here. His eyes roamed the room assessing the various goons and building a plan that hopefully wouldn’t get them shot.
Kidston’s eyes shifted to Bucky. “Don’t you have anything to say here?”
“What do you want me to say? She’s already told you that we’re in love. And yeah, it’s hard to spend time together. It’s not like I can just waltz into the Avengers HQ. I’m not on the top ten most wanted list anymore, but my legal status is still a little on the sketchy side. And since Tony Stark is as likely to shiv me as look at me, maybe more so, the further away I am the better. Natasha’s an Avenger. In case you hadn’t noticed, they’re in a bit of demand lately, what with the fall of SHIELD and the rise of Hydra and all that. Plus, she’s one of the few female Avengers and the only one in the original six, so she’s under even more scrutiny. All that adds up to limited time together that quickly turns awkward when you’re caught trying to engage in a booty call.”
Bucky could feel his heart pounding as mild panic joined that awful feeling of tension. There was an imperceptible tremor passing through Natasha’s shoulders. He knew her well enough to suspect that she was trying desperately to hold back laughter. Yeah, it may have been a bit over the top, he just hoped it did the trick.
There was a sniffling from behind him. Bucky, Natasha, and Kidston turned to unnamed good #2 in disbelief.
“Really?” asked unnamed goon #1.
“It’s just so beautiful,” he sniffled some more. “They’re Tony and Maria from West Side Story. Or Romeo and Juliet. Star-crossed lovers kept apart by the unfair circumstances of the universe. It’s proof that love knows no bounds.”
Natasha blinked. “Are you suggesting that one of us needs to die here?” The goon paled and stepped back.
“No, ma’am,” he stammered. “That’s not what I meant at all. I just meant that love can transcend being on opposite sides of conflict. Love can overcome.”
Bucky was completely taken aback. He never would have taken any of the goons as closet romantics. It just goes to show how wrong he could be.
Natasha rolled her eyes and looked back at Kidston. “Are you satisfied now? Or do you need us to fuck on the breakfast table in front of everyone?”
Even with all his training and conditioning, there was no way Bucky could school his reaction to that. He started. Very obviously. Seriously, Steve was better at tempering his reactions than Bucky at that moment. Every Soviet scientist and Hydra operative he’d ever trained under or worked with just rolled over in their grave because that performance was just fucking weak. He was so disappointed in himself.
“Uh, sweetheart, do you really want to be making that offer? I mean, I know I’m a specimen and you’re absolutely gorgeous, but we aren’t usually much for an audience.” He paused. “I mean other than that one time in Bucharest, but that was mainly because I had no idea there was a camera there.” He was pretty sure he was laying it on too thick, but he had no idea how to play this other than completely over the top. He reached out and brought his hand up to caress Natasha’s cheek, his thumb rubbing the skin lightly. “But if this the only way, I’ll bend you over this table and take you in a manly and loving fashion right here and now.”
The level of awkwardness in that room suddenly ratcheted up to ten. Bucky was pretty confident that his modesty, or at least what was left of it given that he was still standing there in just pyjama pants, was still intact. He was a little more secure in his continued survival, but not entirely confident yet.
“Well, uh,” Kidston began, a heavy blush staining his cheeks. “I think we can skip the carnal display on the breakfast table. Fucking does not a relationship make.” He paused. “But there is a more significant symbol of commitment.”
Bucky had a very bad feeling about where this was going.
“What kind of symbol?” he asked.
Kidston leaned forward, his hands resting on the table and the smuggest grin in the history of smug grins stretching across his face.
All the air left Bucky’s lungs in an audible whoosh. He opened his mouth but wasn’t actually able to produce any sound. Thank god Natasha held it together better than he did.
“What? A wedding? That’s what you figure is the is the symbol that proves our love?”
“I guess deep down, I am a romantic,” he laughed. “I’ve got connections and we can probably get you two lovebirds hitched this afternoon. The weather is beautiful today and the ceremony will be lovely.
“You’re fucking unhinged,” Bucky snarled. “You can’t just demand that we get married. We don’t have a fucking thing to prove to you. And there ain’t a goddamn thing keeping us from just walking out that fucking door.” He stood up and leaned forward, his metal hand banging loudly as his palm smacked down on the table.
Kidston stood and leaned forward as well.
“Pretty fucking ballsy for someone who’s holding none of the cards here. Let me explain a few things to you.” He raised his hand and lifted his first finger. “One, we have your little girlfriend here on camera breaking in. Avenger or not, the law says I have a right to defend myself if I feel threatened. She’s threatening.” He lifted his second finger. “Second, you’ve been working for me. As an assassin, which means that not even counting the shit you pulled in the past, your hands are so dirty I could destroy you.” He lifted his third finger. “Third, you’re outnumbered, unarmed, and have no options of escape. You’re going to play by my rules because you have no choice.”
The sheer arrogance in his tone had Bucky seething. There were four armed goons in this room, plus Kidston and his assistant. There were four more armed goons in the hallway outside the room. Plus a ton more between them and the front door. Even Bucky had to admit that the odds were not in their favour. If it was just him, he’d probably risk it. He healed fast enough that a couple bullets would just slow him down. But he would rather not risk Natasha’s life if it came to that.
Natasha’s hands on his bicep brought Bucky back to present. He looked down at her. She nodded.
“It’s okay. It’s not like we haven’t talked about getting married, darling. This just moves the timeline up a bit.”
He nodded and turned to Kidston. “So you’re the ringmaster to this circus. What’s your fucking plan?”
Kidston smiled cruelly.
“Oh you’ll see.”
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
After being escorted back to Bucky’s room, the newly-engaged couple found themselves both locked in and relieved of all weapons. A laughable move in Bucky’s opinion as both were highly trained assassins. Pretty much everything within reach could be easily turned into a weapon. But hey, they tried.
Still wearing nothing more than pyjama pants, Bucky was just done. He turned to the bathroom determined to finally get ready for one of the more fucked up days of his life.
“Where are you going? We need to talk.”
“I’m going to shower and get ready. You want to talk, you come with.”
Finally rid of the exasperating pyjama pants, Bucky turned on the shower the stepped in, pulling the curtain behind him. A moment later, he heard Natasha enter the bathroom and boost herself up on the counter to sit.
“What the fuck were you thinking? Just telling him that we’re together. And now we’re apparently getting married for chrissakes. Could you not have warned me in some other way?” Bucky lathered up his hair, taking all of his frustrations out on the knots in his long tresses.
Natasha was silent for a few moments.
“It wasn’t just about me coming and creating this chaos. We weren’t sure who here might already know that Doyle was still alive. The Feds just need a few more key pieces of information and I would have been able to get those files after warning you if it weren’t for that fucking nanny cam.” Oh yeah, she was super pissed at getting caught. “He doesn’t even have kids. Why the fuck does he have a nanny cam?”
“He uses a nanny cam to catch his goons when they’re slacking off.” He could hear her hop down off the counter and start pacing in the small bathroom. Natasha took failure very personally, but in her defence, who the fuck would have expected a nanny cam? “Although he’ll have to change that up since everyone will know about them now.”
He turned off the water and a towel came sailing in over the top of the curtain. After wrapping it around his waist, he pushed back the curtain to see Natasha leaning against the closed door, arms crossed and about as tense as he’d ever seen her.
“So what's the plan?” he asked, knowing full well how this was going to go.
“The plan is, we’re getting married. Legal or not, we need Kidston to believe that we’re following along meekly. But behind the scenes, we’ve got to get the last pieces the feds need to take him down. Then we get you the hell out of here.”
Bucky nodded. “Yeah, I’m very much done with this op. And I’m really done with undercover in general. I know I’ve got a lot to make up for, but I don’t like being away from the people who really know me.”
Natasha stepped closer and gently put her hand on his arm. If anyone knew about having red in their ledger, it was her.
“When we get through this,” It was always ‘when’ with Natasha, never ‘if.’ “We’ll sort things out and bring you home to the Avengers’ compound. Yeah, things with Stark will still be awful but we’ll figure it out.”
Bucky nodded, not entirely sure that even she would be able to pull off that little miracle. But he would leave that for her to sort out. Knowing Natasha, she had blackmail material on Stark. Although who knows what, since that man lived his life like an open book.
“Now get dressed. We have to pull some files from Kidston’s computer.”
Once Bucky was fully dressed, Natasha put phase one of her plan in action. Unfortunately, phase one included her climbing out the window, along the edge of the stonework, and up one floor.
“Thank god this is an old building with stones,” Bucky leaned out the window and looked up. “If you had to scale something new and modern with vinyl siding, you might be screwed.”
Natasha pushed him back from the window and boosted herself up, scoffing at him as she did so.
“If this were new construction, I’d just tear through the drywall and floor boards. Much easier.” She handed a small device to Bucky. “This will interrupt the security system and shut down the security cameras. It’ll make sure I get up to that office undetected. I need you to get this as close to one of those cameras as possible. It can backtrack to the main system wirelessly.”
Bucky took the device with absolutely no idea how he was going to pull this off.
“And how am I supposed to get near a camera? Via air vent? I’m not fucking Hawkeye.”
Natasha rolled her eyes. “For fuck’s sake. Knock on the door and when they open it, toss that device down the hall. I saw a camera in the upper corner by the staircase. This,” she tapped his metal arm, “Should have no trouble tossing it that distance.”
He knew she was right, but the whole thing felt stupidly risky. But really, what in his life wasn’t stupidly risky. He walked to the door and knocked. The door opened and it was unnamed goon #2.
“What do you want?”
It was tempting to just reach out and knock his goon ass to the ground, but Bucky was well aware that discretion was the better part of valor in this situation. So for the moment, unnamed goon #2 got to live to see another day. Instead he leaned in conspiratorially.
“See this ain’t exactly how either of us pictured our wedding day.” When all else fails, play up the obvious romantic angle that seemed to appeal to this guy. “Is there any chance we could get some champagne or something? Should help brighten the mood a bit.”
Bucky swore he could see the wheels turning in the goon’s head. For some reason, this guy wanted to help them. Bucky suspected it was, in fact, spurred by a deep love of rom-coms. The goon reached down for his radio and Bucky used that moment to hurl Natasha’s interference device down by the camera. He hoped got it close enough.
“Ranger 1, this is Ranger 2. Over.” Bucky swung his head back to the goon, a little shocked that the goon was actually going to see if he could get them some champagne. This was definitely the best Bucky had ever been treated as a hostage.
“Ranger 2, go ahead. Over.”
“Ranger 1, the groom-to-be is wondering if they can get some champagne or something to help celebrate the impending nuptials.”
There was silence for a moment and Bucky was positive that the response was going to be something along the lines of fuck off. After a minute, the radio crackled.
“Ranger 2, boss says okay. We’ll send it up as soon as it’s chilled.”
Unnamed goon #2 gave Bucky an look of absolute glee. Bucky was pretty sure this guy couldn’t look any happier if it was his own wedding. If he weren’t several inches shorter, Bucky would have sworn that it was Steve using a photostatic veil to troll him. Steve kept telling him that he needed to finally have a life. Although wedding by gunpoint was a bit much and not so much Steve’s style.
“I’ll let you know as soon as it’s delivered.”
Bucky nodded and went back into his room, the lock engaging behind him. Natasha had already gone and since no alarm was being raised, he assumed that the cameras were disabled. He sat on his bed and realized it wasn’t even noon yet. It had already been a long and truly fucked up day. He didn’t see it getting any better any time soon.
He hoped Natasha wasn’t gone too long. He didn’t want to find out what happened if they delivered the champagne only to find out that the bride-to-be had escaped. Fortunately, it was only a few minutes before she climbed back in through the window.
“Done. Got the files the feds need and uploaded them as per the instructions. As soon as they review the information, they’ll be able to arrest Kidston and we can get out of here.”
He could feel the relief wash over him. Home, wherever that may be, and the end of this undercover mission. Things were looking up.
Bucky’s musings were interrupted by a knock at the door. There was a perfunctory, “Everybody decent?” before the door opened and Kidston walked in, goons standing behind him at the ready. He presented a bottle of champagne with a flourish.
“For the happy couple,” he smirked.
Natasha took the bottle and for a second Bucky wondered if she was just going to bash that asshole over the head with it. Not that he wouldn’t have deserved it, but it would add a whole new level of chaos to the shitshow they were already facing. Instead, she inspected the label.
“Excellent vintage. This will do nicely, thank you.” Natasha smiled at Kidston and Bucky could feel the hatred radiating off her.
Kidston took the bottle back and motion to one of the goons behind him. Three glasses appeared, meaning that he was planning on joining the couple for a drink. Fuck.
The cork was popped and the champagne was poured quickly. Bucky just wanted it all done and this asshole out of his room. The frustration oozing off Natasha meant that she wanted the same.
“To the happy couple.” Kidston raised his glass. “May your love last until your end of days.”
Bucky waited until Kidston took a drink before sipping his own champagne. He wasn’t expecting his drink to be poisoned or anything, but he had no idea what the hell was happening.
“Now I’ll leave you to get ready for the ceremony. My assistant will be in shortly with your suit. And we’ll let Ms. Romanov know when someone is here to do her hair and makeup.” With that, he and the goons left, locking the door behind him.
“How is this even fucking real right now?” Bucky felt like his head was spinning with the utter chaos of the day.
Natasha shook her head. “I have no idea. But apparently we’re both getting fancy outfits for this thing. I’m even getting hair and makeup services.”
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
This is the end, so thank you for sticking with this. Make sure you scroll to the bottom to check out DrowningByDegrees-Art's awesome full-size image.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Once dressed, Bucky started pacing around his room. He wasn’t sure where Natasha was, they’d taken his weapons, and he had no idea how they were going to explain this wedding to their friends. He was expecting some ribbing from Steve and all-out mockery from Barton.
The knock at the door brought him back to reality. Unnamed goons #2 and #3 were standing there, so he assumed it was time to go and get married.
The goons led him down to the study. Kidston was talking to someone Bucky had never seen before, so presumably he was there to conduct the ceremony. Someone had even taken the time to put flowers together. He recognized the red roses but couldn’t identify the pink or white ones. It didn’t matter though. They were beautiful and Natasha would love them.
Bucky mentally shook himself at that last thought. This wasn’t a real wedding ceremony and he needed to remember that.
One of the goons pushed him towards the other men. Bucky was about to turn and glare when the door opened and wedding music started playing.
Natasha entered and Bucky was positive that his heart skipped. She was so beautiful. The dress was amazing. Off the shoulder, hugged her curves, and there was even a bit of a train. Whatever sample dresses were, Bucky was now a fan of them. Her hair was loose, with clips holding up sections on the sides. He knew his mouth was hanging open but didn’t care at all. Natasha smiled shyly as she stopped beside him.
“Welcome, friends. We are here today to join,” he checked his notes. “Natasha and James in the union of matrimony.”
Bucky looked at Natasha. She looked back at him with an identical expression: holy shit this is happening.
He barely remembered repeating the vows, he was so focussed on Natasha. He did remember putting the ring on her finger. He was positive that his heart skipped again. And then suddenly it was over.
“By the power vested in me, by the state of New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife. The couple may now kiss!” He finished the ceremony and looked so pleased, as though this weren’t one of the weirdest ceremonies he’d ever officiated.
Bucky reached out with his metal hand and wrapped it around Natasha’s waist, pulling her closer. Natasha lifted her face as Bucky leaned down.
Their lips had just touched when the door burst open and multiple men in FBI issued windbreakers came pouring in.
“Freeze! FBI! Andrew Kidston, you’re under arrest for conspiracy to commit murder, trafficking, racketeering, and smuggling.”
Kidston, the goons, Bucky, Nat, and even the Justice of the Peace were all put in handcuffs. Bucky figured it was just standard operating procedure. Arrest everyone and then sort it out, but the poor JP was beside himself. The man certainly wasn’t expecting this when he agreed to perform a wedding ceremony.
Bucky sat in the interview room knowing that he would be released at some point. He’d been working with these guys so they knew he wasn’t involved. They just had to put him through the paces in order to maintain his cover.
Eventually the door opened and there stood Natasha, still wearing her wedding dress. She looked tired but as beautiful as earlier.
“They’ve finally decided to let you go.” She was tired, but still smiling. “Let’s get out of here before they change their mind.”
As soon as the handcuffs were removed, Bucky was up and out of his seat, eager to be gone. He slung his arm around Natasha’s shoulders as they made their way down the hall.
“Where to now, sweetheart? Honeymoon?” he leered at her, laughing. She smiled back at him.
“Not this time. Steve has sent the jet and requested we both head for the compound. Something about some much needed R&R.”
Bucky stopped walking and turned to face her, ignoring everyone else in the hallway.
“Is he serious? I can’t just walk into the compound and—”
“Yes, he’s serious. He also said, and I quote ‘I’m tired of this shit and just want him home. Get his ass on that plane.’” She even delivered it with Steve’s patented ‘Captain’s glare’. Bucky sighed.
“I hope that idiot knows that he’s getting us all into.”
The jet ride to the compound went all too quickly. They were touching down and Bucky still wasn’t sure how things were going to play out with Stark.
“Stop thinking so hard there.” Natasha stood in front of him, hand extended. “Steve’s not going to put you into a dangerous situation on purpose.” Bucky laughed and took her hand.
“Bullshit. Do you know how many fights that punk pulled me into when we were kids?”
They made their way to the common room expecting, and maybe hoping, that the room would be empty. What they weren’t expecting was an explosion of wedding decorations.
“Welcome home, Buck,” Steve embraced him. “And congratulations!”
Steve just laughed.
Bucky turned and came face to face with Tony Stark. He had no idea how this would go, but the entire room quieted down to watch.
“Look Manchurian Candidate, I can’t forgive and I can’t forget. Not right now. Not yet. But I do know that it wasn’t you calling the shots and you couldn’t defy those orders. So let’s just agree that we’re never going to be BFFs and instead will try to be congenial with each other. Okay?”
Bucky let out the breath he wasn’t aware he was holding. Honestly, it was way more than he could have hoped for. He nodded at Tony. Tony stared back for a moment and then nodded back. And just like that, the volume in the room rose back up to normal levels. Tony wandered off to find Pepper and Natasha appeared at Bucky’s side. She wrapped her arms around his waist and he leaned into her gratefully.
“Are you alright?” she murmured. He nodded, still not quite trusting his voice.
“So what plans do the happy couple have next?” called Clint from over at the food table.
“Man, you know that license was never actually signed, right?” Sam laughed.
Wanda smiled knowingly. Damn telepaths. Bucky leaned down to stage whisper in Natasha’s ear.
“Do you think we should come clean, sweetheart, and tell them all that we actually got married three months ago?”
I have never written for Bucky and Nat before, but really enjoyed doing so. :)
Admittedly, I opted to pick and choose from the Civil War canon. Mainly, Steve told Tony about Bucky's involvement with his parents' death. So no Avengers break-up.
Thanks for reading!