–3 Weeks Later–
Copenhagen, Denmark // 8:00 A.M.
“That’s another clean kill,” Val said over the comms as she watched over the operation.
“Thanks once again Val for having my back,” Bucky said softly as he swiftly packed up his things.
Bucky felt his mood dip back to where it usually was when he didn’t have a job to keep him occupied. It had been three weeks since the ordeal at his place with Sam. He hadn’t heard from Sam since. Part of Bucky was worried that someone was out there that knew where he lived and what he did for a living but most of him just missed Sam.
“No problem my guy. We’ll be in touch,” Val said signing off and dropping all links and communication between them.
Bucky called in a pick-up for his weapon and left his position to get to the airport.
He napped lightly on the flight not wanting to think of anything about what he’d do when he got home. He was saddened that coming home didn’t have the same excitement it used to but Bucky resolved that to being his own fault. He’d made a comfortable home of sorts in his relationship with Sam and now that they weren’t talking or were possibly over, Bucky was at a loss on how to deal with it.
When he touched down at the airport at home, he reached for his phone out of habit. He wanted to text Sam that he was back. He sighed and checked his phone anyways since he had to order a ride home. He actually had a text from Sam from three hours ago.
He felt his heart stir with hope until he read the text message.
We should take a break. – Sam, 1:38 P.M.
Bucky grasped his phone and looked to the sky. Had his heart ever felt this tight? Why did this hurt when he knew it was coming. He moved to have a seat at an empty gate terminal and placed his head in his hands. He’d deny it even to his self but Bucky took a moment to feel the sorrow move through him; to feel his tears leak from his eyes.
He couldn’t even stop to consider what ‘a break’ even meant. Just the thought of Sam wanting to put distance between them made Bucky’s heart woefully ache.
–2 Months Later–
Bucky sat quietly in the park, listening to children play and families spending time while the weather held up for a few more hours. He looked into the distance and appreciated the dark thunder clouds rolling in from the east and the grey skies overhead. It would rain soon, he thought, should get inside.
“Do you wear sunglasses everywhere?” Val asked taking a seat beside him on the park bench.
He glanced over at her and only stared before looking back out at the sky.
“What brings you here?” he asked.
“You haven’t answered one of my calls in two months. Got worried. Had to come see about you,” she said softly with a touch of humor. However she noticed it wasn’t reaching him. “What’s going on Buck? This isn’t like you.”
Bucky hung his head low and sighed under his breath. He hadn’t wanted to eat. He didn’t want to sleep. He damn sure didn’t want to work. What did any of it mean now, he wondered.
Val stared at Bucky’s face and noticed tears falling from underneath his sunglasses. She’d never seen him cry.
“You can tell me in confidence,” Val said softly. Bucky was really worrying her.
Bucky sucked back tears and tried to hold it together. “I realized it too late,” he admitted.
Bucky felt his throat constrict. “That I loved him,” he said staring at the sky. “I lied and lied and he saw me for what I was and…he left me…as he should have.”
Val tried to understand what Bucky meant. “How about you start from the beginning huh?” she suggested.
They sat on the park bench for an hour as the skies continued to darken and thunder rolled all around them. Bucky explained how he’d concealed his job and what he did for a living. He explained how he’d fallen in love along the way, fighting it at every step rather than appreciating it, savoring it. Val listened and wiped a few tears of her own.
“But he’s okay right?” she asked. “He survived the attack from Walker’s operatives right?”
“Yeah,” Bucky answered staring at the ground. “Three weeks later he texts me saying ‘we should take a break’.”
“So there’s hope,” Val said hopefully interjecting.
Bucky shook his head. “That was two months ago. He’s moved on. I know it.”
Val reached over and grasped gently at Bucky’s leg. “As long as you’re both alive, there’s hope,” she insisted.
Bucky continued looking at the grass. Val considered all that Bucky had told her and sighed. Guess there’s room for me to open up as well, she thought.
“I was married once,” she said softly.
Bucky looked over at her. They weren’t very old. When had Val been married? He thought puzzled.
“He was such a goofball. Loving, so sweet and everything I could ask for,” she said smiling, thinking of his face. “He was…the best. The type of person normal people looked up to. He was…a good man.” She felt herself choking on her words.
“What happened?” Bucky asked.
She looked over at him and sat up straight to move her hair out of the way. She felt with her fingers for the scar and parted her hair on either side of the old scar where no hair would grow anymore.
Bucky removed his sunglasses to look at what Val was trying to show him. With tear-reddened eyes, he saw a healed over, four inch gash on the left side of Val’s scalp. He moved back to look at her as she looked into his eyes and let her hair fall back down, covering her scar again.
“I was nine years in the business and another assassin tried to take me out while I was on my way to dinner to meet him. I barely had time to turn around,” she recalled as tears flowed from her eyes. “I woke up in the hospital two days later…a widow. The bullet grazed me and struck him in the chest. I was unconscious…,” the rest came out as a whisper, “I didn’t even get to say goodbye.”
Bucky felt his throat tighten immensely at hearing what Val had gone through. He reached for her hand and held it in his own. Thunder cracked loudly all around them.
“That’s when you stepped back and became an Eagle?” Bucky asked piecing her story together.
She only nodded her head.
“Now it makes sense.” Bucky realized. Not just why Val was so reluctant to gun again but also her outlook on relationships while in the business.
“Said all that to say this,” she said looking at him. “Your guy is still alive. Be thankful for that. If you get the chance to make it right, apologize to him properly. We chose this life Bucky, they didn’t. Understand that and respect it.”
Bucky nodded his head in understanding. He hoped one day he would be able to apologize to Sam. Maybe that way they both could have decent closure and properly move on.