It would have been a nice day all things considered, the snow which covered most of the ground gave the streets a nice almost stereotypical holiday look, Steve liked the snow, even if he usually didn’t go out much in it when it did decide to grace their land.
But alas, somebody upstairs was either in a cruel mood or they just didn’t like him and decided that today would be a ‘let’s see what happens when we throw as much crap as possible at Steve Rogers. He’s going to be thirteen soon and hasn’t had enough trials in his life! Lets make him dance!’
Steve was slumped against a wall breathing hard, holding his throbbing ribs in pain as he tried to take shallow breaths that didn’t result in him passing out. Face bruised and scratched up he was glad to see that at least the girl that was being harassed seemed to had done the smart thing and left as soon as she was able. At least someone was using their brain today.
Steve was trying to get home before the snow fully penetrated his thin coat when he heard a noise in one of the alleys and couldn’t walk away as a young girl, who clearly was not enjoying getting catcalled and followed by three teenage boys, who were maybe around seventeen and eighteen, who clearly couldn’t take no for an answer.
“Why don’t you idiots lay off or try to find someone who’s dumb enough to actually want to spend time with you” he had snapped.
Okay, maybe not the most polite (or smartest) way to try and get his point across.
But to be fair he had a rough day at school, he had missed the bus, had soda spilled on him, Brock had knocked his art pencils on the ground and then broken them with his foot. And his notebook was stolen.
So…yeah…maybe he wasn’t in the best mood to do any calm negotiations. Especially to talk to three idiots who may or may not be a bit bigger than he is. Just a tiny bit bigger than him, with maybe a bit more weight in muscle… all three of them… Damn it.
The first comment he won’t apologize for, that was a spur of the moment resulting from a sucky day and an anger that is totally justifiable on his part. The following comments that may have followed afterwards were on him, but his mouth refused to stay shut to save his life.
Steve took a deep breath and immediately regretted it, but pushed himself up from the wall and got his feet underneath him and managed to stay upright.
At least one of the guys looked bored the other two were still upset with annoyance and anger still playing easily on their faces.
“You don’t know when to stay down do you?” one of the geniuses sneered as he took another step closer to Steve.
Steve would have laughed if he didn’t think it would hurt his ribs too much and raised his fists and gave a half hearted shrug knowing it wouldn’t do much to tip anything in his favor but now it was about the principle of the matter.
“I can do this all day,” well, it sounded like a good to say, but his body at this point was probably just as incredulous as the looks on the three idiots faces. He could practically hear his torso throw its arms in the air and say ‘all day? You sure? Yeah, sure, why not? Not like we wanted to do anything important today like help you breath or anything trivial like that, carry on’.
One of the guys sneered and opened his mouth probably to say something exceedingly clever when a snowball came out of nowhere and struck him hard in the face making him lose his balance and falling on his butt as his two friends looked startled down at him.
Steve also gapped and before he could react three more speeding snowballs seemed to fly out of thin air, each with a surprising accuracy Steve could not help but be impressed with as they all seemed to find targets in the guys faces as they were shoved backwards and to the floor. Oh look, two of them seem to be bleeding.
“Wha’ the ‘ell!” one of the guys screamed looking around frantically trying to see where the projectiles had come from when another snowball exploded against the back of his head. Steve could have sworn he heard a faint, almost far-off crackle that despite its faded quality seemed clear to Steve.
The guys were scrambling up and promptly slipped and came crashing back down hard on the floor, cursing as they scrambled away as a barrage of snowballs kept pelting them from multiple directions at once, as soon as they were out of sight they tapered off and the alley way was once again quiet as Steve now leaning against the wall carefully pushed off it and walked carefully out into the open still not seeing anyone around.
He cleared his throat nervously and tried to sound as unperturbed as possible “Hello? Who’s there?” he waited, straining his ears to try and hear anything but the alley was abnormally quiet and he was about to take another step when a snowball sailed high in the air and landed on his shoulder in a poof of white delicate snow.
Steve was startled for a second and heard a bright, airy laugh that was the most beautiful thing Steve had ever heard. He started when he saw a boy standing in front of him maybe around eighteen or so, a slim stature and standing very relaxed in front of him that Steve wondered how he could have missed him at all.
He was grinning at him with an almost fond look as he lazily started packing another snowball lightly in his hand, Steve took in his appearance of black jeans and a blue jacket and oddly enough, was missing his shoes. Not that he seemed to be missing them if the smile was anything to go by. Steve knew he was staring but he couldn’t help it, he had a strange almost untouchable beauty about him. Steve kept staring and tried to think of something intelligent to say.
The boy seemed to suddenly notice the awkward staring and seemed to freeze. A shocked look froze on his face as he suddenly took a step closer and Steve’s head jerked and met his eyes head on.
He suddenly dropped the snowball and his mouth gaped open. Eyes wide and startled as a disbelieving look seemed to take over his face.
“Wait.” He said hoarsely, “wait, can you… can you see me?”
Startled for only a moment Steve couldn’t think of anything to do but to nod
“And you can hear me?” The boys face starting to brighten and the excitement started to rise in his voice, the snow around them suddenly seemed to dance and the wind was starting to pick up.
Steve eyes jerked around them for a minute taking in the sudden change of weather. His eyes whipped back around at the boy who was practically bouncing on his toes as he took another excited step forward practically leaning over him.
“You can see me! You can hear me!” He whooped and beamed down at him, his hand darted out and gently touched his still throbbing cheek. His hand was cool to the touch and immediately soothed it. His tone took a sense of wonder to it as he breathed out “you can feel me”.
Steve kept staring at him, his mind working like mad all possibilities going through his head until one thought stood out in his mind like a beacon of truth.
“Oh my god” Steve said faintly
The boy nodded encouragingly
“Oh my god!” Steve said his voice reaching a higher pitch than he was use to
The boy beamed at him “I know!”
Steve screamed, “You’re Jack Frost!”
The winds and snow suddenly died very quickly and the boy’s once joyous face suddenly took on a scowl.
“No. No I am not Jack Frost.” He said flatly crossing his arms and scowling at the snow at his feet “Stupid Jack, always getting the credit for everything. Who cares who is older? Sure he has more experience but I. Am. Still. Learning.” He started pacing in front of Steve and whirled back to him imploring him with his eyes
“He has centuries on me. Centuries! So what if he can make the perfect blizzard and can fly along the winds across continents whenever he feels like! I can make over fifteen types of ice! Fifteen!” As if to prove his point Bucky whirled around facing the street and shot out his left hand, it changed into an almost silver white color and ice shot out of his hand and ice appeared all along the street. A man walking just in view of them suddenly lost his footing and crashed down on his side cursing up a storm.
Both Steve and not-Jack-Frost flinched and turned hastily back to each other in a silent consensus to ignore that.
Steve cleared his throat and nodded vigorously “That ice was amazing!”
The boy beamed back at him “Yes thank you, you know I can also make the most amazing snowflakes! Jack is always going on about the perfect snowball and the best way to make fern-frost, but snowflakes takes imagination! It is an art!”
He lifted his hand up in front of them and then seemed to hesitate, eyes darting back to Steve and then he shyly gently moved his fingers in a graceful spin and snowflakes started to fall from above them.
Steve took it all in and looked back him, who seemed to be almost nervously waiting for him to say something.
“It’s beautiful,” he breathed, a grin stretching over his lips. “Your… It’s amazing.”
The boy seemed to freeze again and a beautiful smile broke out on his face again.
“Ya think so?”
Steve nodded more sincerely this time “Of course!” a mischievous smile overtook his face “There is no way Jack Frost has anything on this!”
The boy threw his head back and laughed, like a pure note that penetrated the sky
Steve felt a joy rise up inside of him and he couldn’t help but laugh back.
“So,” he grinned taking a step closer to him, “Got a name then not-Jack?”
A surprised look flashed through the boys face but a cocky smile settled so quickly Steve wasn’t sure he saw it.
“James, James Buchanan Barnes,” he said clearly, like he wanted to be sure Steve heard it correctly. Then another shy smile as he ducked his head and looked at Steve in the eye, “but my friends call me Bucky”.