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”.
Steve and Bucky may not be good for each others health, but at least they have fun
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Steve was never an extremely popular guy, he got sick easily and his asthma prevented him from doing any sports so he never really had a good opportunity to make any friends. So becoming friends with Bucky was definitely one of the best things that has ever happened to him, even if he never had any experience playing with others before. His health had improved over the years, and he had been slowly gaining muscles but his mother being a nurse was always very cautious with him not wanting to aggravate any old problems. Steve got into enough trouble on his own, he didn’t want to worry her anymore than usual.
His mother was so surprised to learn he was going out with a friend and so obviously thrilled (making Steve feel a little guilty making her worry so much) she just made him promise to be careful and told him to have fun. Seeing him off with a bright smile.
Bucky had been so excited to play Steve felt bad telling him about taking it easy, but the last thing he wanted to do was pass out on his first real friend. Bucky seemed to waver for a moment then brightened again and just replied that they could find something easy to do.
Both were tentative with their friendship, not wanting to drive the other off. Steve having had no real friend before and Bucky’s first time having someone who could see him and talk to him who wasn’t another spirit.
According to Bucky every spirit had their own jobs or business to look after and even though he had other friends they tended to always be busy or in a frantic state, so he was usually tried to stay out of their way.
Bucky, Steve knew, was being very cautious in what games Steve could play because of his health condition, not wanting him to push himself. Building snowmen was easy and was definitely something Steve could do with his circumstances, but not something you would consider fun after the eighth snowman especially when your frost sprit friend could easily conjure up a snowman with just a few gestures with his hands. Don’t get him wrong, it is amazing and magical, and can be exceedingly dull after a while.
Steve half-heartedly stuck another stick into the body of an expertly made snowman and tried not to sigh, he chanced a glance over at Bucky to see him viciously stab his snowman in the face with a pebble with an air of frustration until he noticed Steve looking at him and got a sheepish look. They both looked around themselves surrounded by snowmen and started cracking up with laughter.
“Think we made enough?” Steve asked teasingly when he was able to breath again.
Bucky’s face pulled an over contemplative look as he made a show of looking around their small army, hand stroking his chin in an exaggerated manner
“Well it is very heard to say,” he said in a serious tone. “A wise man once said you could never have too many snowy men.”
Steve snorted, “Wise man was mistaken”.
They both snickered and Steve immediately relaxed, smiling at the frost spirit as Bucky looked thoughtfully at the snow around them with a slow grin.
“You know, we could go sledding or something, you could just sit back and I can do all the heavy lifting”. He said eyes playful as he takes a casual step towards Steve making him have to look up to keep eye contact. “Especially since you’re so small, it wouldn’t be much trouble.” There was a slight pause “If you think you can handle it”.
Steve’s eyes narrowed “You think I can’t handle sledding?” he said huffing a little as he tried to broaden his shoulders to seem bigger than he was. True, he had never gone sledding before and he had a feeling Bucky knew that, but he has seen other people do it, couldn’t be that hard right?
Bucky’s eyes widened in what could have been considered innocent, if his smile hadn’t taken a mischievous air to it.
“No not at all, and I will be with you every step of the way,” he cooed as he swirled some snow absently with a lazy hand, eyes focused on Steve.
Steve twitched a little, a tick started forming in his jaw, something bubbling in the pit of his stomach as he glared. Steve knew a challenge when he heard one, and Steve normally was never one to back down from a challenge, but he had promised to take it easy. But really how hard was sledding? Steve glanced around, there were plenty of small hills around here that they could have fun on. Not a problem really.
“Wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself after all,” Bucky continued lazily, eyes still focused on Steve, with an over-exaggerated shrug “I doubt I would hardly have to lift a finger anyway, if things get out of hand,” Bucky formed a little ice crystal in the center of his hand looking around them as well “Can’t really get hurt on these bunny slopes anyway. What’s the harm?”
Steve was being baited, he knew he was being baited as he glared at Bucky. He suddenly had the urge to do something, anything to get that smile off his face.
“Unless,” Bucky paused and smiled at him innocently “you can’t handle it?”
Something snapped. He wasn’t sure what his face looked like but Bucky seemed to freeze for a second his smile wavering just for a second, a surprised and then a nervous look suddenly forming on his face.
Challenge accepted jerk
A vicious grin grew on Steve’s face eyes determined, as Bucky’s face grew alarmed.
“Actually,” Steve said with a calm and steady voice, that for some reason only seemed to alarm Bucky more, the snow frozen in place all around them. “I have a better plan.”
Bucky and Steve stood at the top of a small mountain, it had taken a while to climb and Steve’s breath had gotten ragged at one point, but his determination to make it to the top forced his body onward. When he had made it he had felt better than he had in years.
Bucky on the other hand, had taken a slightly more white color to his face as he stood with him on the top of the mountain. (And really it was just a bigger sized hill if you thought about it.)
Steve let out a breathless laugh as he looked down, Bucky’s head snapped towards him eyes wide. He then let out a nervous laugh running his hands through his hair.
“Wow that was a good hike.” His voice was a little higher than usual and his eyes kept darting between Steve and the downward slope that had a few trees and rocks in the way before you could hit the bottom. “Really I feel better about this fun little outing, we accomplished a lot and I for one, am heading back down this mountain.”
“Chill Buck its just a hill” Steve drawled, casually leaning over the top, Bucky cursed and jerked towards him as if he wanted to grab Steve and pull him back to his side but restrained himself at the last second.
Steve hid a grin and pretended he didn’t see him. “Its not like its far down anyway, and what was it that you said?” Steve’s face scrunched up as if he were thinking, “You will hardly have to lift a finger, on account of I am so small, what’s the harm?” Steve grinned brightly at him turning to face him fully with an expectant look.
Bucky twitched again looking back over the side, then grinned weakly at him “It’s a shame, I would have loved to do this fun not at all life threatening adventure with you but we seem to have forgotten your sled, and last I heard humans still needed sleds to go sledding”.
Steve smiled benevolently at him, Bucky got another look of horror on his face.
“See that’s the thing,” Steve said stepping closer to Bucky. “We don’t need a sled, waste of money, especially when we have a frost spirit whose specialty is making ice.” Bucky’s face grew alarmed again, “from what I hear, over twenty different types of ice.”
“No.” Bucky said crossing his arms over his chest, “Steve have you ever even gone sledding before?”
“Of course I have gone sledding before,” Steve said incredulously looking up at Bucky with wide eyes. And that was kind of true, his mom use to take him around in a wagon. Same thing.
Bucky snorted disbelieving looking back towards the bottom looking uneasy.
“C’mon Bucky!” Steve said clapping his arm then he paused, “unless” he said feeling Bucky tense again under his hand. He turned to look him fully in the eye “You can’t make a single measly block of ice?”
Bucky twitched, face contorting into a frown his eyes still conflicted
Steve sighed gently patting his arm, “Its fine, just forget it”. Bucky looked hesitant but relieved as Steve turned back towards the way they came. Until he heard Steve mumble “I bet Jack could do it”.
Bucky’s eyes narrowed.
“Ready?” A determined look on Bucky’s face as both he and Steve braced themselves on the top of the mountain. They were both sitting on a large solid piece of ice, Steve’s heart thrumming with anticipation, grinning from ear to ear.
“Ready!” He chirped back, gloved fingers clutching the edges of the block, excitement mounting.
“Its not to late to-“
“”GO!” Steve yelled leaning forward. Bucky yelled as they slid forward and rapidly down the side of the mountain.
Birds from the distance could hear crackling and yells’ disturbing what was usually a quiet part of their city.
“Oh My- tree, tree, Steve TREE! VEER LEFT! GO LEFT!”
More whoops and bright, cheerful laughter,
“Help Me Steer!”
“WHAT DO YOU THINK IV’E BEEN DOING? WHY DO YOU THINK WE HAVEN’T CRASHED YET!”
“We’re doing great!
“You have NEVER gone sledding Before!”
Steve and Bucky were at the bottom of the hill (and Steve is going to maintain that it is just a large hill for the rest of his life) panting, breathless, they both turned to each other with wide eyes; the only sounds are their labored breaths. Than they both collapsed into a fit of giggles, leaning into each other laughing loud and free into the cold air.
“That was insane!” Bucky said smiling wide as he looked back at the conquered mountain (Bucky would forever maintain for the rest of his life it was a mountain) slinging an arm over Steve as he leaned back giving out another breathless laugh.
“That was so much fun,” Steve said quietly looking at the giant battered block of ice, “I can’t believe we did that.”
Bucky let out another huff relaxing fully on the ice in perfect ease. “I can’t believe you lived.”
Steve turned back and grinned down at him
“Lets go again.”
Sara was surprised to see her son come back home late in the night, clothes wet and muddy and with a few bruises that she knew wasn’t there before. She opened her mouth just to close it again, Steve was beaming, absolutely beaming his whole body vibrating with suppressed energy that she was not used to seeing from her usually more tired and fragile son. When he saw her he, if possible, smiled even wider and immediately started telling her about his day. His crazy snow filled day that he spent with his new friend Bucky Barnes.
I realize I actually do not know how long it snows in Brooklyn? Right now I am pretending they have decent snowfall for at least a little while