#original female character
okay y’all, I made a side blog for din djarin interactions!
so for character interaction you can follow
no pressure! just thought it would be fun since I haven’t seen any mando blogs 👀
all the love, H
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2020 vs 2021
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A Scarred Enigma Series Masterlist
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x OC Lexa Green
Features: Fluff, angst, mutual pining, smut NSFW 18+ ONLY. Trigger Warnings: Memories of child abuse and suicide attempt. Depression, anxiety, fear of touch.
Summary: Fellow Avenger Lexa Green is an enigma that intrigues Bucky to no end, but a painful past has left her scarred, both physically and mentally. Will she be able to overcome her past to find love in the future?
Updates and taglist: Updates for series will be made on weekly. Please follow my sideblog @tuiccimfanfiction for update notifications. All series and new stories will be reblogged to it. You will only receive notifications when a new part or story is out! Nothing else will be blogged to the page. I can’t thank you enough for your support!
Divider by @firefly-graphics
A Scarred Enigma Series Masterlist
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Shork Post Shork Post
Despite how often I draw Crème, I seldom have much to show for it.
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It’s my baby, her name is Kai and I’m her mother
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Fandom: Criminal Minds
Pairing: Aaron Hotchner/Latina Original Female Character
Word Count: 1,181
Tags: 18+, NSFW, Self-doubt, Fluff and a little angst, Making love, Episode related: 4x13 Bloodline
Aaron hates being the bad cop for a very good reason.
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So for therapy, my therapist gave me an assignment where I design a character off of my anxiety so I don’t visualize it as myself. I kinda went overboard and I made two￼ characters, their names are Pan (short for panic attack) and Melancholy.
Also the white and red character is my persona whose name is Silv.
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Not Today XXIX
A/N: This was a surprisingly easy chapter to write! It helps that I've had the end of it planned for weeks, but hey, that just meant it was fun to finally get there, and I hope you all agree! Let me know what you think, and I'll see you Saturday with the next update! Skål!
Summary: When Ivar takes the throne of Kattegat, Lagertha flees to Wessex along with Björn, Ubbe, Torvi, and the Bishop Heahmund. There, they seek the aid of King Alfred. This aid comes in the form of his sister, Aethelind, who agrees to travel to Kattegat and try to reason Ivar, who she spent some time with during their youth, when her grandfather King Ecbert hosted Ragnar Lothbrok in their castle. Now, she is the only hope for Lagertha and her supporters to retake Kattegat from Ivar the Boneless.
Nothing came of Dir's capture for a long while, and Asta and Ivar simply sat back, and bid their time wisely. They spent most of their days with Igor, teaching him the Norse tongue, while he taught them the Rus. Today was the day, they hoped, that they would be able to move beyond lessons, and be able to teach him far more important things.
The pair approached the young Prince's chambers together, stopping only when they ran into the guard at the door. Ivar gave him a look, gestured for him to step aside, and Asta narrowed her eyes. He did exactly as they wanted him to do, and so Ivar stepped forward, opened the door, and knocked on it as they entered.
"Prince Igor," he called. Asta smirked a little, finding that she rather enjoyed the way the Rus language sounded in his voice. (She wondered briefly if she might like the sound of any language in his voice.) "How are we today?"
There was no answer just yet, and Asta picked up a carving of a horse, albeit one with the skull of a deer, on one of the many desks in Igor's room. She smiled softly and showed it to Ivar- it looked much like a Viking carving, with the head.
"Igor?" Asta tried now while Ivar looked over the carving.
A rustling sound came from the large nest-like thing in the center of the room, and they both looked up in time to see Igor peeking over the edge and looking down at them. "We are very well, Ivar the Boneless, and Asta the Prophet," he answered. "Good day to you."
They walked around to the other side of the nest, as Ivar transitioned into his own tongue, and said, "Now, in my language. Hmm?" He groaned a little as they sat down, and Asta silently slipped her hand into his. It was either a quiet sign of her support, or just a silent plea for his. Neither of them were entirely certain they knew the difference any longer. But Igor was crawling down from the nest at the center of his room before they had much time to try and determine it, responding to Ivar's question as he had been told to do.
"I am delightful, my friends," he replied. He shot a playful smirk to Ivar. "My cripple." Ivar chuckled softly in response to the boy's quip.
Once he'd seated himself across from the two Vikings, Ivar gave a smile, and announced, "We can talk!"
"Yes, we can talk," Igor confirmed, and grinned happily at them.
This was quite a relief to Asta, knowing what all was truly riding on their ability to communicate with the boy. Oleg wasn't going to be stopped if they didn't have Igor on their side, as Igor was the true heir to the Rus throne. Without him, if he didn't agree with them on turning against Oleg, their campaign may as well be forfeit. And if they hadn't been able to speak with him freely, there'd have been no hope for getting between the boy and his uncle.
Once, Asta might have thought this was a rather deviant plan, something far too underhanded for her tastes, but that had been a girl called Aethelind who would have felt that way. So far as Asta was concerned and believed, Aethelind had died in the Siege of Kattegat. But rebirth always came after death, and so Asta sat now in Rus, after a long journey along the Silk Road.
"Now we can discuss serious things," Ivar said, echoing her unspoken sentiment. "Important things."
"Like what?" Igor questioned.
"Like..." Ivar began, but paused as he tried to come up with something that wasn't going to jump straight into what he and Asta truly wanted to discuss. After a few moments, he came up with, "What do the gods look like?"
"There is only one God," Igor replied. "And He looks like Oleg."
Ivar gave a soft chuckle, and only answered at first with a hum. Asta, of course, disagreed entirely- but to give away that she also believed in only one God- who she did not believe looked a thing like Oleg- would be to give away that she likely was not a Viking wanderer, nor yet a Viking prophet. She couldn't say anything.
"Do you know who you are, hm?" Ivar eventually asked Igor.
"I don't understand," the boy said.
Ivar gave him a small smile. "Everything here, everything, belongs to you," he said. He tapped the boy's shoulder for emphasis, and Igor's eyes widened.
"In this room?" he questioned. Ivar chuckled while Asta giggled, and shook her head.
"No, Igor. In this whole town, Kiev," she corrected him. "And Novgorod, too." She paused for a few moments to let the suspense build, before adding, "And everything, in the whole of Rus. The land, the sky... The villages, the town, the people. It's all yours."
Igor chuckled a little, and replied, "You make me laugh. I know it really belongs to Oleg."
"I am happy we can talk," Ivar cut in then. "Because now, we can explain things to you." He reached forward and put a hand on Igor's shoulder. "We can explain how you have been betrayed. Nothing belongs to Oleg. Oleg is not a god. Oleg is nothing, but you... you are everything. And everything here belongs to you." There was a long pause in which Asta had to not chuckle at the irony of Ivar correcting that Oleg was not a god. It hadn't been so long ago he'd believed himself to be one. "Remember that." She sometimes wondered if he still did, every now and then.
The three spent the majority of the day together, indulging each of Igor's whims and partaking in many activities with him- though some of those were a bit childish- until dinner had been served, eaten, and they were returning to their chambers. As always, they waited until they had returned there before beginning to speak freely, and also as always, they did so in the Saxon tongue.
"Do you think he'll come around?" Asta questioned, watching Ivar as he had started to unbraid his hair. She ended up getting up and walking over to him, shooing his fingers away from his hair to do the task for him. This brought a small smirk to his face as he recognized the behavior. She was anxious.
"I think he will," he answered her. "Igor is young, and impressionable, and we are telling him nothing but the truth. We are also being sure to be closer to him than Oleg is, than Oleg has the time to be. He will come to trust us more, and that will be how we bring him around."
"I hope so," Asta said, and gave a small sigh. "It's all riding on him, isn't it? This plan with Dir, and with Oleg. Without Igor's approval... nothing we do will mean anything."
Ivar turned and looked up at her, not yet letting her start to brush endlessly through his hair as he knew would be the next thing to come. "Everything we do will still mean something," he told her. "We are going to do all we can to be successful, yes?" She nodded. "Then it will mean something." Asta gave him a small smile, and pressed a grateful kiss to the top of his head. "Now sit down, woman, you are going to make me anxious."
She smiled softly and did as he said, an even wider smile stretching across her lips as she felt him turn her head, and begin to undo the many braids in her own hair. "Don't tell me I've already succeeded?" she teased him, and he chuckled.
"No," he replied. "But you have braids which need to be undone, and I have never undone them, as many times as you have undone mine."
He made a solid point, she realized, and so hummed softly in response. "Alright," she acquiesced. "Well, go on, then. And go ahead and brush through it all when you're done, my arms could use the break tonight, and Lord knows yours can take it."
Ivar smirked. "Mine can take it, hmm?" he repeated. "And what exactly do you mean by that, my Queen?"
The teasing tone in his voice caused her cheeks to dust pink, and she pressed her lips together. "Just that you can drag your body across the ground and not grow tired," she said. "Surely, that means you can brush through all this hair with ease."
Ivar laughed a little at her response, and he wrapped an arm around her once all the braids were undone, pulling her back suddenly so that he was dipping her, and looking down into her face. "And you can fight as well as any Shieldmaiden I have ever seen," he pointed out. "I have no doubt you can brush your hair just as easily as I can." The dark red that now colored her face delighted him, and so he pressed a quick kiss to her forehead, before sitting her back up and announcing far too casually, "But I will indulge you."
She watched as he easily lowered himself from the bed to go and fetch her hairbrush, her heart pounding in her chest. They were going to have to talk about whatever it was between them at some point, she knew that, even if part of her was afraid to put a name to it, put a label on what exactly they were. For the time being, they'd only kissed twice, and yet were so affectionate with one another one might believe they had been married for any number years- and attached romantically for even longer than that. It made no sense to her, but she knew for certain that her mother would never have approved. (An ironic thing, since Asta knew she and her brother Alfred had been the product of an affair.)
The thought of her mother sobered her just a bit, as Ivar crawled back up onto the bed and began to brush through her hair. "What is the matter with you now, huh?" he questioned, having picked up on the shift in her mood.
"My mother would have been appalled at all of this," she answered, a sad chuckle leaving her, and Ivar gave a thoughtful hum.
"And what specifically is 'all of this'?" he asked.
She laughed and shrugged, her brows lifting even though her face was turned away from him, and he wouldn't be able to see. "All of it?" she repeated. "The fact I've travelled the Silk Road with a Viking, spent six months or more isolated with him, shared his bed more times than I care to count, still do now it's no longer necessary, and behave as a wife with him, though we remain unmarried. She'd say I was being far too..." Asta paused, trying to think of what word she meant exactly. "Well, she'd say it was all extremely indecent."
Ivar chuckled at that. "The stuffy sort of Christian, then," he said, and Asta hummed.
"Far stuffier than I even was when we first met," she replied. "Though, I believe part of that comes from being the daughter of Athelstan. My brother seems to have inherited the rather studious, religious nature my father was known for, while I clearly have inherited his love for your people, and his quickness to adapt to your ways." She smirked. "As well as his affinity for following a descendant of Odin into crazy, half-thought out plans."
Ivar chuckled a little at her words, giving an amused shake of his head. "Floki hated him," he commented, which earned a surprised laugh from Asta.
"I would say so," she quipped. "I don't think you just kill someone you don't hate, not if it was premeditated." She paused thoughtfully. "Not that I know it was, I suppose, I just rather assumed it was, from how your father told it."
"It would have been, I think," Ivar mused. "He had been concerned for years about having a Christian live in Kattegat. It was just that night he decided the gods had had enough."
"And so what might he think about the fact you're currently brushing a Christian's hair, and living with one, claiming her as your wife, even if it's not true?"
Ivar snorted before he replied, "He would ask what I was thinking, and tell me to get away as quickly as I could, or did I not remember what happened to Ragnar? And I would tell him that he did not know you the way I do, and that you were not going to change me the same way your father changed mine. And, if he fussed too much, I would tell him that if he did not stop, I would make my claims that you were my wife true."
Asta's eyes widened, and she turned to look at him over her shoulder. "You'd marry me just to prove a point?" she asked him.
Ivar paused, looking up at her with his lips slightly parted. He hadn't quite meant to reveal that to her just yet, that he'd marry her, regardless of for what reason she believed he was saying it. "Well, your mother would no longer believe 'all of this' to be indecent if I did, would she?" he questioned. "It would take care of two problems."
"My mother is with God, Ivar," she pointed out. "It's hardly a problem now what she would have thought."
"And Floki has turned himself over to the gods, so he is not a problem, and there is no problem to solved through our hypothetical marriage."
Without letting her answer, Ivar quickly turned her head back around, and started to brush her hair again. Asta couldn't help but chuckle a little, pressing her lips tightly together in an attempt to bite it back.
Asta ended up falling asleep as she always did, curled up with Ivar, though he notably did not. He found suddenly that he couldn't sleep, and was unable to sleep all night. His mind was plagued with thoughts of the woman asleep in his arms, and he couldn't stop looking down at her, noting how the moonlight lit her skin just so. Truly, he saw again the way Nott was reflected in her. This whole Dir thing had been her idea to start with, back in Novgorod, and he was doing all he could to make sure it went over well for them.
Pulled like the tides indeed...
She shifted in his arms, and Ivar frowned, watching the way her brows creased together. He’d be lying to say he didn’t recognize those signs, didn’t know what was happening just then. He shook her gently, his hand coming to rest against her cheek. “Asta,” he whispered. “Asta, wake up, hm? You need to wake.”
Fortunately, his words and actions were enough to do what he wanted them to do, and she woke. But, she woke with a start, looking up at him with wide eyes, fear written in them clearly. “Ivar…” she breathed, and then her face was buried in his neck, and he was wrapping his arms tightly around her.
“Asta, what is it?” he questioned gently. “What is the matter, hmm?”
She shook her head, indicating she didn’t want to talk about it, and so he nodded and held her a little closer. If she didn’t want to say, he wouldn’t make her, though with the way she behaved he had a rather clear idea of just what it was. It made his chest ache.
The floorboards creaked, and without letting go of Asta, Ivar rolled over to see what had caused the sound. Igor stood there, and Ivar jolted a bit in shock. He hadn’t ever been so grateful to be somewhere he didn’t yet have enemies, as he was when he realized how easily they had been snuck up on in the night.
“She was dreaming?” Igor questioned, and Ivar nodded.
“What is it?” he asked, wondering why they were being interrupted in the first place.
“Is it true?” Igor replied. “Do I really own all the land and the sky?”
Asta looked up when she realized this wouldn’t be a quick visit, and put on a smile. She was really still shaken from what she had just seen in her dreams, but couldn’t show that to Igor. Instead, she sat up a little, prompting Ivar to do the same.
“Yes,” she answered him. “It all belongs to you.” He didn’t seem sold on it, so Ivar stepped in. Or, rather, he spoke up.
“One day, Igor, you will believe us,” he said.
The boy turned and began to walk out, after taking a moment to absorb their answers, but then paused and turned back to them. “Prince Oleg is asking for you,” he said, and left.
Ivar gave a small sigh, and turned to look at Asta. “Do you need me to stay?” he asked her. They were no stranger to Oleg’s whims by now. If he was sending for Ivar, he only meant Ivar. An invitation to her would have been made clear. But, Ivar was hesitant to leave her alone.
She rolled her lips together in the way he knew meant she was holding something back, and shook her head. “No,” she said. “Go on. He won’t want you to keep him waiting, love.”
Ivar hummed, reaching up and tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “I would rather he wait and we be sure you are alright,” he confessed. “Oleg can wait, I won’t make you.”
Asta smiled at him softly and covered his hand with hers, turning to press a soft kiss to his palm. “I’ll be alright,” she promised. “Go.”
He nodded a little, kissed her forehead, and helped her get comfortable in the bed once more before getting out and getting himself ready to meet Oleg. However, as he did so, he came to a decision. Oleg may have wanted him to come alone, but Asta was his priority, not some Rus Prince, not some man who hadn’t been at Ivar’s side, hadn’t been on Ivar’s side the way Asta had been. He was done with leaving her behind, and leaving her side when she needed him most.
Once Ivar was dressed, he went to Asta and shook her awake again, only to find her eyes opening immediately. So, she hadn’t been able to go back to sleep. He hated that he was unsurprised.
“Come with me,” he whispered. “Whatever Oleg wants to say, he can say to us both, hm? I don’t think we should be leaving my wife out of these talks.”
Asta smiled up at him, and nodded.
The pair went and met Oleg where Ivar always met him- in his late wife’s mausoleum. He turned when he heard footsteps approaching, and his eyes widened at the sight of the two of them walking up. Of course, he’d only been expecting Ivar. Instead of letting them see this, however, he turned around and finished lighting the candles he had been lighting when they entered.
“You wanted to see me?” Ivar prompted. He decided to carry on as they normally would, unless Asta chose to speak up. If she did, they would handle that then.
“Yes,” Oleg confirmed. “I wanted to tell you that I have ordered the immediate mobilization of a great army, and the gathering and construction of a great fleet, for the invasion of Scandinavia. The time has finally come.”
And that couldn’t have waited until morning? Asta wondered silently. Or is that really what you wanted with him?
Ivar nodded as he heard Oleg’s words, his own thoughts in much the same place as Asta’s, though he didn’t let on to Oleg this were true, and replied instead, “I am very happy to hear that.”
“You can be very useful to me,” Oleg said. “Both of you. You are the son of Ragnar Lothbrok, and you, his wife and Prophet. No one can question your legitimacy to rule when I place you upon the throne.”
Ivar’s eyes narrowed as Asta’s did. Clearly, they were less than pleased.
“So we will be your puppet rulers, huh?” Ivar questioned. Oleg tilted his head, and began to approach the pair.
“Don’t mess with me, Ivar the Boneless,” he almost hissed. “I’m offering you far more than you’re worth.” Ivar tilted his head back as he watched Oleg, noting the way Asta’s grip on his arm tightened, and her eyes narrowed. “You can rule kingdoms. Who cares if it’s really me who controls everything? You will be the King! You will be famous!” He tapped on Ivar’s chest, and Asta took a half step forward. His hand dropped, though he tried not to let on that it had done so due to her movement. “Isn’t that what you Vikings like?” he finished.
Ivar chuckled a little, moving his arm gently back to ease Asta to his side once more. A silent signal that there was no need for bloodshed- not yet. “You forget something,” he told Oleg.
Oleg had returned to his wife’s casket, and didn’t bother to turn around as he asked, “What?”
“I’m a god.” Asta tried hard not to roll her eyes. “A descendant of Odin.”
“You are not a god!” Oleg snapped, and he threw down a quill he’d begun to write with, crossing back to Ivar at a speed Asta did not like. She stepped halfway in front of Ivar, and Oleg simply shoved her aside. He then shoved Ivar back, though Ivar had been prepared for that and had braced himself so he didn’t fall. “You are not a god, and my faithless wife was no saint! She was a whore!” Oleg glared at Ivar, not hesitating to get right into his face. “I told you you can be useful,” he growled. “That should be enough for you.” Asta returned to Ivar’s side, an almost hate-filled glare in her eyes as she focused them on Oleg. “But don’t ever betray me,” he warned. “Or I’ll stuff your boneless body in the casket with my wife!”
The minute the threat was made, Asta stepped between them and shoved Oleg back, surprising him with the strength in her body. She grabbed him by the shirt to drag him closer to her own height, and snarled, “Watch your mouth or you’ll find yourself reunited with her far sooner than you wish.”
Oleg used one arm to knock her hands off his shirt, and with his free hand grabbed her by the throat. His grip was tight, and threatened to cut off her air supply, but she thought faster than Ivar could move, snatching a knife from her false husband’s belt and driving it hard into Oleg’s arm. He yelled, releasing his hold on her and stumbling back as she pulled the knife back out.
“Witch!” he snapped, and as she stepped closer to him, he found himself cornered against the very casket he had threatened Ivar with. In an attempt to shake her, he quickly shouted, “You are no more a prophet than Ivar is a god! Why should I fear you?”
Asta put the knife to his throat, and the air in the room hung thick as two prophets glared into each other’s eyes, Ivar watching behind them to see who would win this battle of wills. He had very little doubt in his mind as to who the victor would be.
“Because I offer you one warning, Prophet,” she hissed, and nearly sneered his title. “Keep your keys safe about you, for they will soon be taken from just under your nose, and not even a ring will keep them safe.” With that, she moved the knife, but tossed him to the side as if he disgusted her, and turned toward Ivar. “Come,” she said. “He is worth neither our time, nor our trouble. We have better things to do.”
Oleg watched as she stepped past Ivar, her held head high and back held straight as though she were already Queen of Kattegat again, and perhaps even now had become the Queen of Rus. Ivar looked at her as though he were in total awe of her, only standing for a moment or two before quickly beginning to follow after her. And, as Oleg watched them go, he came to a realization.
They meant- or she meant, at least- to take Igor from him. That, or someone did. He could think of no one else the ‘keys’ in her prophecy could represent. But no, if she, Ivar, and Oleg were the ring, meant to protect him, then the boy needed more protection. His ally in the city of Vyshgorod had been wanting an advantageous marriage for his daughter for quite some time now, and Oleg made a decision. If it bought him an army to keep Igor away from those who still supported Dir, then he would easily begin planning for a wedding, and once he had his army, he would finally wed the Princess Katia.
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You alway have a choice: 7
Executing the plan
It took a while, but the Avengers had finally come up with a plan they liked. Loki would contact Thanos, tell him about you and about the mindstone. He would strike a deal, if he could give him the mindstone the two of you would go free. When Thanos would arrive Loki and you would pretend to give the stones. Right before you could Thor and Tony would intervene. Saying that they knew what Loki and you were doing all along and trying to get the stone from him again. At that point Natasha and Clint will attack Thanos from above. That was the cue for everyone to attack and you would all kill Thanos.
It took a while for Loki to be convinced that Clint wouldn’t shoot him instead of Thanos. From what you gathered the two of them had some unpleasant history, but you would ask Loki later about it. Once Thanos was death you and Loki would go with Thor back to Asgard. Thor would plead with his father for a reduced sentence for the both of you, as rewards for you help. You couldn’t be bothered, you had only a few years. Loki would benefit from it, if a reduced sentence was something the Allfather was willing to give. You doubted that heavily, and so did Loki.
That night Loki contacted Thanos. He insisted on doing it alone in his room, and he was not to be disturbed. He would get distracted and it would break the connection. You wanted to argue, Loki was after all the most powerful master of sorcery of Asgard. But you held your tongue, for once actually trusting Loki. Since the rest of the team didn’t feel like getting to know you, you retreated to your own room. You laid on the bed reading a book when Loki entered, after about an hour. He looked a bit wary.
‘Are you okay?’ you asked him.
‘Yes, it wasn’t pleasant and I don’t really feel like getting into it’ he stated coldly.
‘Did he accept your offer?’ you asked.
‘He did’ Loki answered.
You cocked an eyebrow. You never thought Thanos would take the deal. It was easy, a bit too easy for your liking. However, you held your tongue.
‘When?’ you asked.
‘Tonight’ he said.
‘We should warn everybody, I guess’ you swung your legs over the bed to get up. Before you could Loki advanced and pushed you down on the bed. He was on you the next second kissing you hungrily.
‘Already did’ he whispered on your lips.
‘Shouldn’t we, you know rest? Get ready?’ you giggled. His roaming hands on your body were becoming quite distracting. Loki ignored you and went back to kissing you. Instead of shimmering clothes away he took his time undressing you and let you undress him. He said he wanted to savour and remember every moment of it. His tongue was circling your clit very slowly. Making sure to lick ever side of it and lapping up your wetness like it was his last meal. It was sensual, intense, and very erotic. You came twice and pulled on his hair to ask him to come back up. It was becoming a bit too much. Loki eagerly answered your silent question and thrusted himself inside of you. He bit down your neck while you felt his cock hitting all the right places within.
After the intense love making the two of you cuddled naked against each other for a long time. Loki was stroking every inch of you, pulled you tight against him and smirked when he saw all his bite marks on your skin, and decided to add a few more.
‘You never told me, how are we going to fake our death?’ you asked him.
‘Ah, simple. The moment we ‘turn’ on Thanos as a ‘team’ I will pull out the Tesseract. I’ll explain to Thanos that I never was on your or the Avengers side. And I will give him these two stones, in return my service and a planet to rule’ he explained.
‘You will run towards me and plead not to go through with it. I will pretend I never cared about you and you will stab me. At that moment I will ‘use the stones to ‘take you with me to hell’ but really I’m just teleport us somewhere safe’ he said.
‘But, if there are no bodies why would everybody think we’re actually death?’ you asked.
‘I will leave two physical copies. I will teleport back to the house, which is still warded. The copies will be physical for a week. After that they just vanish, but then they are in the ground or in sea. It will take a lot of magic from me. So, the first week in the cotton I will barely be conscious. And I was hoping you would look after me?’ he asked.
‘Of course, I will. What happens when you are feeling better?’ you asked.
‘Then, we will start our lives over somewhere. We can go anywhere, do anything. Court, get married, maybe even start a family’ he said nuzzling against you.
‘Going a little fast there, but it sounds nice’ you chuckled.
‘Thanos will be here in half an hour, I guess we should get ready’ you said. Loki groaned, gave you one deep kiss, but got out of the bed. You met the team and everybody got in position. Right before Loki walked to his he gave you an envelope.
‘If, and I’m only saying if, things take an unexpected turn. Promise me you will read it?’ he looked sad and it broke your heart a little.
‘Of course, but nothing will go wrong. We have a good plan, plans actually. And I trust you’ you said and gave him a deep kiss. Loki didn’t say anything, he just smiled at you. The smile didn’t quite reach his eyes, but he was probably as nervous as you are. You tucked the envelope away safely in your shirt. And waited for something to happen.
There was a blue portal that opened up in the middle of the living room. The rest of the room was completely dark, there was no way that Thanos could see everyone in the room. Thanos scanned the room and his eyes landed on Loki. Loki walked slowly a few steps toward him.
‘Loki of Asgard. Tell me, is it Laufeyson? Or do you prefer Odinson?’ Thanos asked.
You saw Loki grit his teeth, but he did ignore the jest. ‘I have what you seek. The mindstone and in exchange you let me and (Y/N) live’ he said.
‘If you show me the stone first, you have my word. Your word is not something I can trust’ Thanos replied.
Loki pulled the mindstone from out of nowhere, it appeared in his hand. Thanos took a few steps towards him. At that point Clint shot an arrow and Natasha landed on top of him. Thanos groaned and screamed from surprise. Tony flipped the lights on and the whole team, including you started to fight Thanos. Thanos was incredibly strong and had some of the Avengers flying through the room. They hit hard against the wall and it took a few seconds for them to get up and recover. Right before Thor could join the battle Loki roared ‘ENOUGH!’
He made the Tesseract appear in his other hand. The whole team looked in shock and the fighting seized. ‘Thanos I want to strike a new deal’ he began just like planned. ‘I have quite enough of pretending to be in love or helping these so-called heroes. I want what’s mine. Two stones in exchange for a throne, a planet to rule’ he spat.
‘What?’ you asked in fake-tears. You checked if the knife strapped to your thigh was still there, it was. You advanced towards him, like planned. Suddenly Loki cast a freeze spell over you and the rest of the team members that were advancing. ‘WHAT?’ you asked again in panic this time. This was NOT part of the plan. Thanos walked towards Loki who quickly made the stones disappear again.
‘Deal’ Thanos said. He grabbed Loki by his shoulders and the two of them disappeared. As soon as Loki was gone the freezing spell stopped. You fell to your knees in tears. You couldn’t utter a word or a thought. Loki had betrayed you, for real. You were stupid to even trust him. But he made it seem and feel so real. The rest of the team just stood there in shock. After a few moments you remembered the envelope. You quickly pulled it from your shirt. You opened it and folded out the piece of paper:
When you read this, Thanos and I will have left the scene. Words cannot express the pain I feel for betraying you. But I needed your complete trust and did everything in my power to gain it, for there was no other way. Thanos didn’t take the deal. He was so certain he would get the stones, one way or another. One stone wasn’t worth two lives. But two stones and my service were worth your life. It was the only way to ensure that you would live, so I took that deal. Because of the chip I told Thanos I couldn’t go with him that moment. I had to execute the plan with the Avengers. I would cast a freezing spell and the both of us would go then. Unbeknownst to him, that weren’t the real infinity stones. I gave them to Thor, who will put them safely away in Odin’s vault. In exchange for that he ensured me he won’t take you back to Asgard. I told you that physical copies are draining to sustain, once Thanos finds out I will be too weak to escape. But I will die knowing you’re free and know that in a way I will be too. I hope you find the happiness you deserve. We weren’t always on each other’s side, and the only regret I have is not reaching out to you sooner. I wished we had more time together, but I’m grateful for the time we had.
Forever yours – Loki
You read the letter over and over again. Some of the team members came to stand behind you, also reading the letter. You didn’t care. In the distant you heard Tony and Thor fighting with each other. After a few minutes the team members left, leaving you alone. Suddenly an orange portal opened in the middle of the room. You couldn’t believe your eyes when you saw Loki walking out of it. He was wearing a shirt, tie, and a brown jacket. His hair was shorter, just above his shoulder.
‘I knew you liked me, but destroying half the universe for me? Guess, I’m a lucky man’ he smirked at you. He didn’t make any sense, but you didn’t care. You ran towards him, he caught you and spun you around. He kissed you, you had to stop too soon because you were out of breath.
‘What are you talking about?’ you asked.
‘Apparently you stealing the stones from Thor and going after Thanos to save me isn’t something the ‘sacred timeline’ liked. Naughty girl’ he grinned.
‘I haven’t done anything? What? How are you even here? Why do you look different? I thought you..’ you said.
‘While you are taking the short cut, I had to take the long way around. You haven’t done anything, yet. You were successful in saving me tough, but in doing you kind of caused half of the universe dying. The TVA didn’t quite like that, hence they hired me to prevent it’ he explained.
‘I’m still so lost’ you said a bit sheepishly.
‘The problem is you cause mass extinction when I die, I apparently cause a time war revenging your death. Something the TVA liked even less. So, I think it is best for everybody if we are both alive in just one timeline. I only have one question’ he said.
You cocked an eyebrow, waiting for him to continue.
‘Do you choose to come with me?’ he asked.
You still didn’t understand a thing what Loki was telling. But he didn’t have to ask that question twice. Trusting him, you took his hand as he led you through the orange portal.
Unfortunately this is where this series ends! I hope you enjoyed reading it and that you liked the ending. The original idea was to end with Loki’s letter, but I couldn’t bring myself to not write a happy ending. If you liked this story and are interested to read more you can click here. Thank you so much for reading it and for all the love, likes, reblogs and compliments <3. It is very appreciated.
Tags: @delightfulheartdream @the-best-phineas @theaudacitytowrite
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The Night Has a Thousand Eyes - Chapter 2
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x OFC (Lilliana Vossi)
Series Warnings: surrogacy, pregnancy, previous miscarriages, panic disorder, loss of a loved one and child in a car accident
Chapter Warnings: things ramp up a lot here, angst, more angst, and a sprinkle of angst, Lilliana has a serious panic attack in this one, panic disorder, doctors, emergency rooms, medical inaccuracies, a smidgen of fluff, mean things are said to Bucky
A/N: The depiction of panic disorder in this chapter is based off of my own research and personal experience with anxiety. It is not meant to offend anyone, or romanticize the illness. If you think or know that you or someone you know suffers from this condition, please go see your family doctor immediately, as they are qualified to treat it.
One of my OFC's from another fic that I have planned out makes an appearance (again, hint she was also mentioned in my Aerophobia oneshot), if you wanted to play a game of 'Where's Waldo?' lol.
Thanks a bunch for reading! Hope you enjoy this as much as I did writing it.
Catch up with the rest of the series here.
Copyright Notice: I do not own any of the images or dividers used in this post, credit to their original owners. I do not own any of the Marvel characters, they belong to Marvel. This is my own creative piece of writing, you do not have permission to repost it as yours on any other sites and/or translate it (without my written permission). That counts as plagiarism, which is illegal. Reblogs are fine, and encouraged!
Tuesday morning coffees became a regular thing for the two of them. It always started with the obligatory Alpine check-in, with photos, videos, and questions from Bucky’s end, and eventually fell into light and easy conversation.
Bucky had taken to spending his spare evenings at the shelter, when everyone else besides her had gone home, helping with the animals or cleaning the floors. He even bought dinner for the two of them the evening of Alpine’s first appointment, so the two girls could have a proper reunion. Needless to say, they were both extremely happy.
Having spent almost the past year with Lilliana, he felt himself morph into something more pleasant and sweet. With Alpine curled against his chest, he gazed at the ceiling in anticipation of the next day.
That had been a feeling he hadn’t felt in decades...anticipation.
The word itself made him feel all giddy inside. Just the act of wanting something more than the day had to offer, craving it. He shook his head in disbelief. At the sudden movement, Alpine shot up her head from his chest and glared at him. He cooed softly at her, bringing his left hand up to scratch her head.
She ran hot, and found the cooling sensation of his arm comforting; accepting his apology, she settled back down purring as he let his thoughts run wild.
Yes, it had been a wonderful year with Alpine, and the ever-growing ivy plant, which had grown so much that he was able to give a small branch to Tony’s assistant.
His little snowflake was extremely fond of a strange combination of hide-and-seek and tag. She’d run up beside him, and lightly hit his calf with her paw and run away. That was a sign that he had to run after her, find her hiding place, tag her back and run for his life.
Sometimes, in the middle of one of their rounds, usually when she realized that she was going to get tagged, she would grip his hand with her claws and try to pull him down. Once he was crouching on the ground beside her, she would start biting and wrestling with his hand. If he managed to get a gentle hold on her mouth, she would turn her mouth and bite the area between his thumb and pointer finger, bunny-kicking at the rest of his palm. But as soon as he made a sound of pain, she would let go immediately, accepting his defeat and challenging him to another round.
Sometimes, she would use this wrestling as a ploy for their original game, suddenly stopping her attack on his hand, tapping his arm and taking off in a flurry of white fur and pink paws, again.
He tried to ignore the torn onesie underneath his bed, he really did. But, though he would defend Alpine with his life, she didn’t have chubby little arms that reached out to him, or small squirming legs that would kick at the air when she saw him and her laughs never bubbled up in her throat...not that she could laugh.
He had managed to refrain from buying another onesie, or the extremely adorable little blue tutu and matching headband that came up in his advertisements, when he was, ironically, looking for a new knife. Otherwise, he tried to keep his days filled.
Sparring with Sam or Steve, helping the new recruits or taking care of Alpine, since she had become somewhat of a brat when it came to his attention. Bucky had also started gearing up for his two-week long mission. By ‘gearing up’, he meant going through Alpine’s elaborate daily routine with Steve six times a day, and then doing the exact same with Natasha, just in case Steve broke his foot and wasn’t physically capable of doing the routine...and knowing his best friend, it was highly likely.
He also didn’t know why he suddenly felt so guilty about missing Tuesday coffees with Lilliana either.
It wasn’t particularly guilt he was feeling. Recently, he’d started providing daily Alpine updates to her personal phone number, though they would quickly morph into another one of their conversations. He was much more open and inviting over text than he was in person. He also didn’t notice the sly looks the rest of the Avengers would exchange when he would spend hours on the couch, holed up inside his phone with a grin plastered over his face.
Really, he reflected, it wasn’t guilt, but some weird form of fear and desolation at the fact that he would probably not be in contact with Lilliana for a whole fourteen days.
Come to think of it, actually, it seemed that he was more concerned about not seeing Lilliana for so long than seeing Alpine. Since when did that happen?
Shaking the thought out of his head, he finally got out of bed and started to get ready for his Tuesday morning coffee. He had big news to tell his friend today, and he had an even bigger favour to ask of her.
“I see you’ve already ordered for me,” Lilliana smiled cheekily at the sight of the coffee cup across from Bucky, shrugging off her coat. The weather was warming up nicely, and everything and everyone seemed to be in celebration of the promise of sunny days.
Taken aback at her blunt comment, he started to blush and scratched at the back of his head, downcasting his eyes to the table, “Of course, I mean-you don’t have to drink it if I got it wrong, I’ll pay for this and the next - god, incredibly rude of me to - and if you want to leav-”
“Bucky!” she laughed at his flustered state and took a sip from her drink. “I was only joking. Of course you got it right.”
“Sorry,” he said meekly, staring at the rim of his cup.
“Nothing to apologize for, it was sweet,” she kicked his leg under the table and hunched over as if in confidence. “Now, how’s my best girl been doing?”
He pulled out his phone, grateful for the distraction from his panic. Alpine had recently found a ball of yarn hidden in a small corner of the storage room, and he had doused it with some catnip oil, which made the cat go insane. She had played with the ball so much that it had turned into a knotty mess, with loops of yarn hanging out of it from every which way.
At this point, everyone in the tower had a video of Alpine beating the living daylights out of that poor yarn. There were even some agents that had approached him to see the famous wrestler and her victim.
But out of all the reactions he had witnessed to Alpine’s videos, Lilliana’s quickly became her favourite. He had recently become extremely fond of the wrinkles around her eyes when she saw something funny. Or the way she picked at the inside of her palm while she watched the video. Or the way her dark hair fell like a waterfall from behind her shoulders and framed her face.
Soon, the conversation took a turn to Lilliana’s work, and Bucky had the pleasure of leaning back in his seat and listening to her animatedly talk about the recovery that one of the newest rescues was making.
In the earlier days of their friendship he was taken aback at how her body would almost vibrate with excitement while recounting her stories, like she was impatiently waiting to go back to the clinic. For Bucky, her enthusiasm and sheer joy for her work, to get back to it immediately, was something foreign and alien. It took him a while to get used to, and even longer to appreciate.
What had he done to deserve her warm presence in his life?
She was nothing short of sweet, just like little Alpine, and he couldn’t imagine being where he is today without the help of his two best girls. Because three days before, Steve sat down with him at the dinner table and brought a list of possible options for surrogacy and adoptions, with different organizations for both.
He had skimmed through some surrogate profiles, and they had all seemed like generous and kind girls, however, he found himself constantly gravitating towards the ones that had the same shade of black hair as Lilliana, and her matching dark eyes. So, of course, after a year together, he could only see a future where the mother of his child was her.
“But enough about me, what’s been keeping you busy these past few days?”
He chuckled nervously, “Nothing much.”
“Come on,” she prodded further. “I thought we were past the awkward small talk phase.”
“Oh we are…” it’s just that what I might say next might make us strangers again. “Unless you don’t-I mean, like if you want to go ba-”
“What’s up with you today? You’ve been real jittery,” she paused. “If you want we can go to the clinic, or maybe just call it a day, I mean I don’t-”
“Have my baby.”
Lilliana’s eyebrows shot up to her hairline and her face froze for a couple of seconds, while the gears in her mind started to turn. She blinked twice, then twice more - Bucky counted - before angling her neck a little to look out the window they were sitting beside, and finally turned back to Bucky and met his eyes.
To be honest, he had been expecting a similar reaction, and he had planned on breaking the news a little easier… so much for that. What he didn’t expect was for her to bark out a laugh, before silencing it by forcing her palm on her mouth, as tears gathered in her eyes, “What did you say?”
And what could Bucky say? After literally demanding her to carry his child, could he just tell her to calm down, that there wasn’t any rush, and that there was no pressure for her to agree to do this?
In a perfect he would have said all of that, told her about all the steps he’d taken to reach this point, how the baby would have nothing short of the best life he could offer them, provided her with some brochures and pamphlets, and finally asked her to think about it, and take as long as she wanted. And that, most importantly, their relationship would not be impacted, no matter what decision she made.
Of course, like an idiot, he had decided to blurt it out, with absolutely no respect for her own autonomy. “I…” he trailed off, looking down at his covered hands in shame. “I want a baby.”
“You?” she winced immediately. “Sorry…”
He made a dismissive gesture, hell, that’s what Steve said that fated night.
“Bucky,” she said, and stopped when he didn’t look back up at her. “Look at me, sweetheart.”
Finally, at the nickname, he was able to take an easy breath and guiltily met Lilliana’s eyes, “Sorry, I didn’t...it wasn’t supposed to come out like that.”
She made an amused sound at the back of her throat, “I figured.” Shifting around in her seat a little, she said, “But Bucky, you know there are like...organizations that…” gesturing with her hands to make her point.
“I know, Steve found a couple and I’ve been looking through their files this past weekend.”
“Then I don’t understand… do you need me to support you through the process?”
He took a deep breath, now that it was out there, and they had both recovered from the shock, he finally had his chance to reiterate his point, “Lilli, I want you to be my surrogate. I know it’s a lot to take in, and I’m sorry for the blunt delivery. Take as much time as you need, I can give you some websites and-”
“You haven’t been in contact with any potential women in these organizations?”
“It’s not like that, you’re-”
“So, you haven’t?” she frowned and crossed her arms against her chest.
“But, I didn’t want just anyone to-”
“Don’t lie to me, James.”
“I’m not,” he pressed further.
“Oh, you’re so pathetic,” she spat. “Bullshit you didn’t contact someone else before coming to me. Nobody would want-”
“But, I didn’t! You’re the first-” his heart rate started to pick up and a stitch formed in his chest, why couldn’t she understand?
“For the last time, don’t lie,” she said between gritted teeth. “Is it that hard for you to have a little respect for me?”
“I don’t understand-”
She scoffed, shaking her head in disbelief at him, “‘I, I, I, me, that’s all this-” gesturing to the two of them “-is for you isn’t it? You get rejected a couple of times and think, ‘who would have the mental instability to want to carry the Winter Soldier’s child’? Of course! Yours truly!”
Bucky, by this point, was looking down at the table to conceal his trembling lower lip. He couldn’t bear to look into the warm, dark brown eyes that he always found comfort in, like a deep chocolatey hug, to be hardened over in hate.
Of course she was right, she was always right. How dare he even try to pretend that there was anyone willing to help him fulfill this childish and hopeful dream of his? Hope was for Steve Rogers, not Bucky Barnes.
“Did you even think about how that would make me feel?” she asked a little, her tone a little softer, but it instantly hardened.
“Of course not you selfish prick. You monster, all you know how to do is take and take and take.” Exasperated, she stood up and grabbed her coat, ripping it on her shoulders. Before leaving the table, she leaned forward, “I hate to break it to you, Sergeant Barnes,” he winced at the title. “But you can live for a hundred more years and no one is going to want to have your baby… least of all me.”
She tried not to think about it. She tried to push away the thought when it came to her. But instead, she gripped the edge of the thread and unravelled her line of thinking till she found herself shaking in the corner of her office with tears streaming down her face.
After that day in the coffee shop she sent Bucky a curt text saying that she would still be Alpine’s veterinarian, and that their relationship would be confined to only what concerned the patient.
It had only taken her a simple glimpse at Alpine’s file. Her second appointment was coming up and she wanted to bring her history back up to working memory. While skimming the information, she remembered the night when Bucky had taken Alpine away from her.
That same night, three hours earlier, she had been in this exact same position, triggered by the sudden fear that the patient files were not alphabetized by last name, as they should have been. Now, it was just the fear of seeing Bucky again, would he even want anything to do with her after what she had said?
Ok… ok. She had to find something to ground her, anything. Reaching for the hair tie, she pulled it back and started to snap it repeatedly against her wrist, trying to even out her breaths with the stinging sensation on it. Soon, it became impossible to follow the soothing pain with her chest, so she started matching the rhythm of the elastic band with her shallow wheezes.
The first time this had happened was the week before her GRE, where she stumbled upon a photo from her high school graduation. Looking at the smiling, joyful face, she no longer could feel the same emotions she did when it was taken.
So, she tried harder, trying to simulate that same sense of relief and nerves that she had felt, but she kept coming up empty-handed. When she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the picture glass, she gasped in horror.
There was no way that this gaunt face with dark circles under her eyes and acne littered across her face was that same person. She had fallen to the ground, back then, ignoring the shattering of the glass and gripped the carpet till her fingers turned white, trying to reorient herself.
The next couple of times happened in veterinary school, different exams and deadlines snowballing into an avalanche of stress. It was when she was walking away from her boards’ exam, and the thought of having another attack, sent her into another attack, that she forced herself to do the elastic trick. And for the next ten years, it had worked out smoothly enough for her, except for once, but she was already in the hospital when it happened.
Originally, when these attacks had subsided, Lilliana had to take the next twelve hours off, sipping gently at a cup of warm water and staying in bed. When she felt stable enough to walk again, she would run herself a hot shower and scrub herself to the point that she would rub away some of her skin, and she felt good as new.
Over the years, she had managed to reduce her recovery period to half an hour. At this point, these attacks had turned into a nuisance. She would ride the wave, snapping the elastic against her wrist until she was able to breathe normally again, get up, wash her face and get back to the rest of her day. She was a busy woman after all.
Except this time, the elastic wasn’t working. She was sure that she had bruised her wrist from the amount of times she had snapped the hair tie on it. Pulling the elastic harshly back, it snapped in half and flew across the room. On cue, her breathing picked up pace, and a wave of nausea ran through her.
No, no, no, no, no! She could not throw up in her office!
Gasping, she tried to shift her weight forward to stand up, but promptly lost her balance and fell down on her front. Shivering at the sudden cold, she broke out into cold sweats, something that hadn’t happened since her last residency exam. Her small baby hairs began to stick to her forehead as she tried to inch her way across the floor towards her private bathroom.
When she finally did, already losing feeling in her shaking hands and shifting uncomfortably at how her shirt was sticking to her, she looked up and started to sob. How was she going to reach the doorknob?
She was horrible. This is how she was going to die, on the floor of her office surrounded in a pool of her own vomit, all alone in the world except for a couple of traumatized animals, more broken than she was.
All because she couldn’t open a door.
Such a useless piece of trash she was.
Because it really wasn’t her inability to open the door, it was so much greater than that. It was really what had caused her to be on the floor in the first place, why she was shivering like an aspen tree leaf though there was a literal pool of her own sweat and tears gathering on the ground underneath her face. And it was all because she had glanced down at the file in anticipation of what was to come. Another rush of nausea lurched into her throat.
She could even see the headline on a sixth-page headline in a local tabloid newspaper: Veterinarian Chokes on Her Vomit, Dies Alone, No Traces of Alcohol or Drugs in System. Of course they wouldn’t find anything, maybe some ibuprofen because she had a headache that morning, another telltale sign that she had ignored… she craned her neck and stared in contempt at the door handle.
Would they even know why she was vomiting in the first place? No, it didn’t matter, all that mattered was that one word: alone. Alone she came into this world, and alone she would come out-
“Lilliana!” The door of her office was slammed open as it accompanied the sound of Bucky’s distraught voice. His panicked eyes searched the office in fear, heart shuddering at the thought of what could have happened to her.
It wasn’t hard to place where she was, hidden behind her desk and reaching for the handle above her, the rattling of her voice in chest gave away her position instantly. Bucky ran around the desk and cursed at the sight of her practically convulsing on the ground.
“Go...away…” she managed out between wheezes.
Ignoring her protests, Bucky crouched down beside her and managed to get one of her arms around his shoulders, supporting her as she came up in a weak sitting position. He gasped at the feeling of her cold and sweaty body against his, “Christ, Lilli, you’re freezing.” Grabbing her two hands, he placed them around her neck, trying to warm them up.
Instead, he flinched as she started to breathe even quicker, her chest rapidly moving up and down, her gasps cut into chunks by intervals where her chest would stay risen for half a second as the air got stuck in her throat.
Rushing, he took her hands off her neck, “Alright, alright,” he took a deep breath, trying to calm down his heart rate. He pressed her hands onto his neck, “Here ya go, there we are,” he covered one of her hands with his and moved it to his chest, trying to maintain eye contact with her glossy eyes. “C’mon, follow me...that’s it, you’re doin’ so well.”
A couple minutes of eternity later, Lilliana’s breathing managed to calm down, though it was nowhere close to Bucky’s steady rhythm. It was more like a chopped up version of a breath. As she took in air, her chest rose shakily and a wheezing sound, like rusty pipes, came out of her throat, hiccuping as the air filled her lungs.
It was certainly enough to allow her to move her hand from Bucky’s neck and place it above his, still clutching her other hand on his chest, and start to push weakly. Bucky practically flung himself at the wall across from the two of them; he really didn’t blame her for not wanting him around, she had made that abundantly clear the last time.
He was going to leave after he made sure that Lilliana was safe, and call an ambulance on his way out.
But he wasn’t quick enough. As she tried to reach for her trash bin, she threw up on her pants and some of it fell on the bottom of his jeans. He stared in horror at her state, as she kept vomiting. He took his phone and dialled 911, “Lilli, I’m going to call an ambulance, alright?”
“No…” she swallowed deeply. “Don’t...go…”
“I’m not going anywhere,” he pushed down the panic that was steadily building up, and ignoring the pool of vomit on the ground, came and sat beside her, holding her gently in his arms. “I’ll be right here until they come here, and when I know you’re safe…” I’ll leave.
The operator soon connected him with the lead paramedic that was on the way to them, who told Bucky, if possible, to give Lilliana an aspirin, or blood thinner to reduce blood clots. His heart lurched when the paramedic said she suspected a heart attack. Rummaging around in her desk, he managed to find a bottle of ibuprofen, and handing her water bottle to her, made her take two.
“Alright, it’s alright, Lilli, I’m here, you’re safe and help is coming,” he said, trying to memorize the soft curves of her face and hands, praying that this wouldn’t be the last time he saw her.
Soon enough, the paramedics burst in with a stretcher. Bucky could feel her heartbeat picking up at the sudden influx of activity in the room and he suddenly felt guilty as to whether or not he made the right choice. The lead paramedic ran through the list of her symptoms with Lilliana, confirming with Bucky when her memory seemed too hazy to recall it. All the while, she took her pulse, blood pressure and temperature.
“It doesn’t seem to be a heart attack, trembling too violently for that,” she said to the rest of the team and room and to Lilliana, “Do you have a history of heart disorder in your family?”
When Lilliana mumbled something unintelligibly, the comforting sensation of lying down on her back too much for her, the paramedic turned to Bucky, who had a lost expression on his face. Sighing, she stood up and moved to shuffle the stretcher out the room and into the ambulance, “She still needs to be treated for her symptoms, give her 0.5mL morphine and heparin, each, just in case.”
As they made their way to the door, Bucky stood awkwardly where he was sitting beforehand, playing with his fingers. The best thing he could for Lilliana right now, was to clean up the mess on the floor, it was clear that she didn’t want him around, so all he could do was hope desperately that it wouldn’t always stay like-
“Sir,” the other paramedic called to him. Bucky looked at him, frowning, “She’s asking for you.” He looked down and saw Lilliana’s weak hand reaching out behind her, rasping out his name.
Gaping, he followed them into the ambulance, clutching onto Lilliana’s hand desperately to the music of the sirens as they made their way to the hospital.
Lilliana never really understood why, when she was volunteering at her local hospital, patients were so bothered by the rhythmic beeping of the heart monitor. Sure, it wasn’t Mozart, but it could easily fade into background noise. Now that she had woken up with a spinning head and dry throat, a stinging pain in right arm where an IV band was attached, it felt that every beep was a personal insult.
Groaning, she shifted her head to look at the room around her. Nothing too interesting, a window with a view of the adjacent building, hospital blue walls, linoleum floors and two chairs pushed to the edge of the wall to her left, right beside the doors. By the looks of the elongated shadow of the window, the sun was either rising or setting; time seemed to be meaningless in a hospital, there were no clocks in her room.
Almost on cue, as the heart monitor picked up pace, the door to her room was opened by a woman with tired eyes and a white coat, walking in with a clipboard, “Morning, Dr. Vossi, bit of an early riser aren’t you?”
Before she could respond, the woman went over to the adjacent table beside her bed and poured her some water, “I’m Eden Meier, I’m your assigned doctor.” She waited for Lilliana to finish her drink, and then said, “You had a pretty serious panic attack, has this happened before?”
She nodded, enjoying the sensation of the cold water in her parched throat. A nurse came in at that moment, and with a brief greeting started to take her vitals. Eden then continued, “Was it the same intensity as yesterday’s?”
Lilliana hesitated before finally deciding to confess, “Yes, this was the second time I wasn’t able to control it.”
“And when was the first?” the doctor opened up her file and started to skim her past history.
“Uhhh...July, three years ago,” her chest tightened at the memory.
Eden’s eyes went to the date in question and looked over the listed symptoms and treatments, “You seemed to have reacted much the same as last time, and you were also treated for a heart attack, just like we did here,” she chewed her lip, deep in thought. “History of heart disease in your family?”
She shook her head in response.
“How often, on average, do these attacks occur per month? No matter the intensity.”
“Two or three times in a good month…”
“And on a bad month?”
“Eight or nine.”
Eden’s mouth fell open in shock, before quickly composing her face and jotting some notes down. “Take any prescribed, over-the-counter, or illegal drugs?”
“Haven’t had a mental illness diagnosis recently?” she still didn’t look up, flipping through the pages of the file.
“Anxiety when I was sixteen, so I took chlordiazepoxide for four years.”
At the sound of the scientific name of the drug, Eden’s head snapped to meet hers, in an expression of relief, “It’s so nice to speak to a patient with some medical background.”
“At least yours can talk,” Lilliana smiled tiredly. “Try asking what drugs a back-alley cat has taken.”
She laughed, sitting down on her bed, “I guess there’s always someone better off and worse off than you.” Eden cleared her throat, “Can you tell me what triggered this attack? Do you remember?”
Now that was a tricky question. Could she even say that she had insulted the gentlest man she knew to his face? That she had caught the way his lips had trembled, and how she couldn’t stop the spew of harsh words that came out of her mouth, hitting him like rocks and bruising his skin?
And that she had the audacity to demand that she keep Alpine as a patient? She was pretty sure that Eden would not hesitate to kick her out of the hospital that instant.
“I was…” she trailed off, trying to find the right words. “Scared about another one happening again.”
Eden nodded, seemingly expecting such a response. “Family doctor is… Martin…” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a notepad. “No history of alcoholism or substance abuse?”
She scribbled something down, and looked at Lilliana, “I’m going to order a blood test and an ECG, just to rule out any thyroid or heart conditions. If it’s alright with you, I want my resident to do your physical exam.”
“And a psych eval as well,” she wrote it down on the pad. “I’m pretty sure this is a case of a panic disorder, I’ll email Indila and let her know what tests we’ve decided to run, as well as fax over the results. Usually, we have the family doctor continue treatment, and she will be the one to determine if you need psychological help.” Concerned at her frightened expression, Eden reached forward and grabbed Lilliana’s hand in her own. “You don’t need to worry about a thing, dear. We just need to rule out any other possible conditions before diagnosis.”
“I’m not going to die?” She wanted to make it seem like a lighthearted joke, but remembering the choking sensation in her chest when Bucky had put her hands beside her neck still made her shiver.
“No, sweetheart, you won’t,” Eden smiled sweetly and got up from the bed. “But if Sergeant Barnes hadn’t called emergency, there would have been a good chance of it.”
“Oh,” her heart fell at the thought. After everything that had happened between them, he still had the selflessness to make sure she was alright.
“I’m going to go order those tests now, we’ll be able to discharge you by the end of the day today,” walking over to the door, she pulled it open and turned back around to Lilliana, smiling. “Have a good day, dear, if you need anything, just press the button and one of us will be there to help.”
The door clicked shut, and with it, almost instantaneously, Lilliana’s eyes started to fall shut again, the eventful day before catching up to her. The last thing she noted was the door being opened again and a gentle figure coming in, she assumed it was a nurse.
Tags for this series and all of my works are open, if you wanted to be added, please send me an ask or message. You can read the rest of my writing here. Thanks again for reading, next chapter should be out soon!
Taglist: @pearlruth @chipster-21 @ginger-swag-rapunzel
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🌸Nuevo dibujo empleando una paleta de colores específica. Sí; sí ya sé que yo siempre estoy usando el color rosa para todo pero esta vez usé distintas tonalidades de rosa y los combiné🌸
Personajes originales / Arte: © Hoshi Sakurai
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Forever Love-Ben Hanscom-Chapter 7
Summary: It’s been 27 years since the Losers confronted Pennywise. They’re back now to defeat him for good. How will Ben and Emily, along with the rest of the Losers, handle this epic showdown. After all, the only thing we have to fear is itself. But is that all they have to fear? The fear of losing a loved overpowers the fear of fear itself.
Warnings: Cussing, Potential Scary Aspects (Clown), Violence. Mentions of missing children, Gore, Fluff, Mentions of Suicide
Tag List: @elskinner45 @nocturnalherb16 @buckysforeverprincess @diyunho @negans-womam @deepobservationcherryblossom @fangirl1029 @thelostallycat @scarletmeii @fandomsstolemylife00 @brithedemonspawn @sinofbisexuality @chuckbass-love @lyn-g @paigeem96 @kyky9103 @mzmusic92 @booknerd-3000 @cocastyle @moth-lad-overwinter @natiebug1 @nekee-lilac02
A/N: Here’s another chapter! There’s only two more chapters after this one!
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To be Tagged: Message Me, Comment, Submit an Ask or Tag Yourself In My Bio!
Third Person POV
“Richie!!” Emily screams, banging on the door as she hears Bill yelling on the other side.
At this moment, she feels helpless. Her little brother is probably dying and there was nothing she could...Ben grabs her arm and pulls her down a hallway and out the front door, cutting off her screams. He remembers a door on the other side of the kitchen that he, Bev, Stan and Mike went through all those years ago when Emily broke her leg.
He sees a window without any boards on and lets go of his wife. Grabbing a large rock from the ground, he slams it into the window, successfully smashing it.
“Goddamn it, Eddie!” They hear Bill scream. “Get the knife.”
Ben climbs in slowly, being careful of the broken glass and runs toward the open door to the kitchen. He sees a young Beverly’s head with long spider legs poking from all directions and slime dripping off, trying to attack Richie. The only reason it’s sharp teeth haven’t reached his brother-in-law yet is because Bill is holding it back with all his might.
Eddie stands in the corner of the room, staring with wide eyes, showing how terrified he is.
“Get the knife!” Bill yells, not noticing the extra man in the room.
Without any hesitation, Ben runs over and grabs the weapon from the floor. He stabs the head and Bill’s eyes snap to him. The head becomes limp but Ben pulls the knife out and stabs it repeatedly, grunting with every strike. He stabs it one last time, leaving the knife inside. Bill pulls it off Richie just as Emily and Mike run into the room after climbing back into the house.
She gasps at the sight before her and grabs onto the door frame as if that was going to protect her. Mike steps in front of her to shield her from anything else that Pennywise might have to throw at them as Ben jumps up from the ground to lean against the old deep freezer, panting. Bill chucks the head across the room toward the basement door as Stanley walks up behind Emily.
“What...What’s that?” He whispers to his female friend.
She doesn’t answer as Spider Bev slowly pulls itself to the basement door. Just before it disappears out of sight, a haunting smirk stretches across its disembodied features. Emily pushes past Mike and kneels down next to her little brother who is coughing and gagging from the slime the creature was dripping in his mouth and face.
“Jacket!” She turns to her friends. “Someone give me a jacket.”
Stanley immediately takes off his sweater and kneels down beside her. She takes it from him and starts wiping the disgusting slime off his face. Bill turns around to Eddie who is still hiding in the corner of the room. He stomps over and grabs him by the front of his jacket, angrily shaking him.
“He c-could have fucking died! Y-y-you know that right?” He snaps causing the young terrified man to nod. “G-Georgie’s dead, the k-k-kid’s dead and Beverly! Beverly’s dead! You want R-Richie too?”
Eddie shakes his head, stuttering out a few words, looking past the angry man to see Emily helping Richie put on his glasses as Stanley finishes wiping down his face. Mike runs over and grabs onto Bill’s arm to stop him from shaking Eddie anymore than he has.
“You want R-Richie too?” Bill snaps again.
“I don’t...I don’t…” He shakes his head again. “Please don’t be mad, Bill. I’m just scared.”
“T-that’s what he w-wants, right?” Bill sighs as he turns away, mumbling to himself. “F-for us t-t-to be s-scared.”
“Bill’s right.” Stanley glances at his friend, nodding, before turning to Eddie. “Don’t give it to him. Prove you’re stronger than he is.”
Eddie nods slightly, tearing up, deciding that perhaps his childhood friend has a good point. That he’s capable of proving he’s stronger than the evil, haunting clown asshole thinks he is. While Eddie wipes his cheeks with the sleeves of his shirt, being mindful of his gauze, Ben turns to Emily, helping her back to her feet before they help Richie up as well.
Once everyone’s back on their feet, and as seemingly calm as they can be, or fake being, the group heads down to the basement to see the well. Bill lights the way with his flashlight with everyone following him in a single file line. Ben stops in the middle of the stairs to stare at the well on the other side of the room.
He hits the banister softly as memories flash through his mind.
“A lot of memories, huh? All bad….” He mumbles, his jaw clenching at a certain memory.
Knowing that this is the place where his now wife was once trapped, more so mentally rather than physically, unable to move, escape, essentially paralyzed...well, this place is one of the ones he wished he’d never have to come back to. Glancing to his right, he instinctively wraps his arm around Emily’s shoulders as she huddles against him.
“I’ve got you, baby.” He whispers, just loud enough for her and only her to hear.
If the memories are flashing through his mind, there’s absolutely no doubt that Emily’s reliving those prisoning times from her childhood in this very pit. One by one, each of them start to slowly, nervously, climb down the stone well into the darkness below.
Mike’s the first one of them to venture down into the depths of what is despair for all of them. Bill’s right behind him with Richie close on his heels. Stanley and Eddie are the next two in the middle of the line, while Em and Ben bring up the tail end. The horrid smell most of them remember reaches their noses as they reach the end of the small pit.
In the same order, they begin to climb through a large pipe in the wall, regretting doing this all those years ago. When they reach the sewage water, Mike climbs out of the pipe first, using his flashlight to light the way for the others. Each Loser climbs out of the pipe, Eddie being the only one to comment on the disgusting ‘grey water.’
After Richie helps his sister down, they begin to make their way down more pipes and tunnels until they come to an area with multiple pipes. Mike shines his light on the one in front of them, being the one in the direct middle. It doesn’t take them long to figure out where this one leads. No. The feeling of dread, the knowledge of this tunnel’s destination...it’s almost instantaneous.
Each one of them is nervous, not wanting to go through this tunnel. Bill and Mike make the decision for them. They climb through and directly to their right...is the area they recognize pretty well, despite Bill not having his Derry Memories for over 20 years. Stan, Richie and Eddie reluctantly follow behind them.
Ben climbs through before helping his wife into the ankle deep water. She glances up at him with worry covering her face. He kisses her head before gently pulling her down the one area in this entire sewer system that changed her life. They regroup and look into the room to see the clown cart from 27 years ago is gone.
In its place is a flat area with pipes coming out of the ground and all around it seems to be rainwater that has been collected over the years.
“Shit. This is it.” Ben whispers, looking around. “This is where it happened.”
His male friends glance at each other before looking over their own shoulders, glancing at Emily. After a moment, and a series of several deep breaths from each of them, they lower themselves into the chest high ‘grey water’ that wasn’t there 27 years ago, the last time any of them had set foot down here.
Despite her best efforts, Emily shakes her head and almost gags at the smell. Ben rubs her back soothingly as he does his best not to gag either. Their small group makes their way over to the middle where pipes are coming out of the water to see a trap door in the middle of them. Eddie, who is walking before the couple, puts his hands up and shakes his head.
“No, no, no, no.”
Emily raises an eyebrow and looks forward to see a teddy bear floating between them. She moves it out of the way and keeps walking, making sure to keep her flashlight out of the murky water. Ben walks past her as he looks around the room so she’s now last in the line.
“Emmy!” A disembodied, eerie voice calls out, echoing through the tunnels.
She quickly turns around to look with her flashlight now shining down the tunnel they just came from. While part of her hopes to see something there, it’s what she ends up not seeing that spooks her more. There’s absolutely nothing there. Ben turns around when he realizes his wife isn’t next to him.
“Em…” He whispers. “What is it?”
Everyone hears his voice and turns around to look at the couple. Mike, Bill and Stan are already on top of the wooden platform while Eddie and Richie are climbing the rocks leading to them. Emily turns back around and shakes her head slightly.
“I thought I heard something…”
Right as she finishes her sentence, the old, disformed woman from her old house jumps up from the water, towering over her with a large disgusting smile. Emily screams loudly, dropping her flashlight in the water.
“Em!!” Ben calls out, worry lacing his voice as he looks to his wife.
She tries to jump backward to get out of the lady’s range but she isn’t quite quick enough. The woman grabs her face and pulls her toward her body.
“Time to sink!”
She jumps up then pulls Emily underwater. Ben jumps up, taking a deep breath in before diving deep into the water. Richie jumps off the rocks, straight after his brother-in-law, hoping to save his sister. Bill and Mike dive off the wooden platform, splashing water in different directions. Stanley goes to jump in, finally showing some courage but he sees Eddie to the side with his eyes closed.
He rolls his eyes then jumps in, wanting to save his best friend.
“Guys? Okay, guys. Come on.” Eddie pauses. “Hey, guys? Guys, come on. Please.” His voice cracks as he starts to sob slightly. “I don’t want to walk out of here alone.”
A second later, Ben pulls Emily up out of the water and she begins coughing loudly. Cupping her cheeks after giving her a quick once-over to make sure she’s ok, he gently moves her hair from her face, tucking a strand behind her ear.
“Thank God.” Eddie breathes out. “I feel like crying.”
Everyone comes up, crowding around them. Richie hugs his sister, making sure she’s okay now before looking at Mike.
“Mike? Where do we go from here?” The youngest Tozier sibling asks.
Instead of giving him a response, he climbs up onto the platform with everyone following him. As they circle around a symbol embedded in the wood, Mike starts speaking complete gibberish, incoherent, seemingly nonsense. At first, the group can’t hear him until they start walking closer, standing before the trap door.
That’s when they realize that Mike’s just uttering something that definitely doesn’t sound like an actual language, let alone English. As they listen a little closer, focusing on the words, they start to notice that while it may not sound like English, Mike is definitely speaking their native language.
“In the depths is where IT crept. In the beneath, to find belief.”
“Is he okay?” Ben asks, his tone low since they’re all still trying to figure out what Mike’s saying.
“I think,” Richie glances at his brother-in-law. “I think at this point, that’s a relative question.”
Emily wraps her arms around herself to keep warm as she looks over at Mike.
“What’s on the other side?” She asks, shivering slightly.
He stops his gibberish and looks over at her. “I don’t know. No one does.”
Bending down, he grabs a handle they didn’t notice before and opens the trap door.
“Woah, woah, woah!” Stanley calls out as everyone jumps back.
“M-Mike?” Bill looks up at him.
Said man uses his flashlight and looks down in the tunnel. All he sees is a rock wall leading down to what seems like a dark hell. He sits on the edge of the trap door, putting his feet in the hole.
“Alright, I’ll see you in there.” Mike says before he jumps down into the abyss.
“Wait! Mike! No!” Eddie, Richie and Bill yell after him.
They use their own flashlights to light the hole to see Mike climbing down the wall. Bill takes in a deep breath before sitting down where Mike did a few seconds ago.
“S-Stay together.” He says before climbing down slowly.
Ben kneels down next to the hole to help Emily when Eddie steps back, shaking his head.
“Guys. I can’t do it.” He mumbles causing everyone to look at him. “I can’t do it.”
Stanley sighs and puts his hand on his arm. “If I’m doing this, you can too. I just want this over and done with.”
“You saw what happened up there! I was gonna...I was gonna let you die. I just fucking froze up! You get me to go down there with you…” He pulls his inhaler out of his pocket and shakes it. “I’m going to get us all killed.”
He takes a large puff off his inhaler and Richie grabs his arm.
“Hey. Hey. Hey. Give me that!” He says, pulling his arm away from his face.
They fight over it and Eddie keeps trying to get more of the puff. Because Richie is stronger than Eddie, he isn’t able to pull his arm back so he pushes on the top of the device and tries to suck in the medicine that he thinks will help him at this moment. Like it’s a security blanket. Richie shines his light into his face forcing his friend to put down the device with an embarrassed expression.
“Listen to me.” He starts. “You had a moment. Fine. But, who killed a psychotic clown before he was 14?”
“Me.” Eddie whispers after looking at his friends.
“Who stabbed Bowers with a knife that he pulled from his own face?”
“Also me.” He looks down.
“Who married a woman ten times his own body mass?” Richie asks, watching him.
Eddie pauses for a brief moment, slowly realizing what his friend’s hinting at, and replies in a serious tone. “Me!”
“Yeah.” Richie chuckles softly. “You’re braver than you think.”
Instead of saying anything in response to that, the younger Tozier just smirks softly and hits his friend’s still sensitive, not completely closed wound without realizing it. Eddie winces, hissing out a small groan as he instinctively cradles his injured cheek with his palm.
“Ow!!” He shoots Richie a look.
The other man looks genuinely apologetic as he offers a quiet ‘sorry’. The pair makes their way over to the trap door, where the rest of their little friend group is already waiting, and Emily holds up the metal spike.
“Here.” She says. “It kills monsters.”
Eddie furrows his brow in disbelief. “Does it?”
“If you believe it does.” She says, grinning.
She nods, then smirks at him. “I won’t break my leg for you again.”
As Richie starts his own climb down, Eddie chuckles softly, looking at Emily.
“I...I never thanked you for that.” He starts.
“Don’t mention it.” She grins, leaning over to kiss his uninjured cheek before climbing down after her brother.
Ben smirks as he looks at his friend. “Hitting on my wife, Kaspbrak?”
“What?!” Eddie’s eyes widen. “No!”
Ben chuckles, shaking his head, playfully, just messing with the man. As he chuckles, he starts to make his way down, following his wife. Within a matter of moments, Eddie and Stanley both head down after him, giving each other enough space to climb down. They start to make it through the bottom, then they crawl through a small hole.
The only thing, though, is that only one person can get through at a time. So, getting through the small crevice takes a little longer than the climb down since they have to go one by one. Once they’re all on the other side of the hole, they stand, huddled close to each other, looking around.
“This is it.” Mike says. “This is where IT hid.”
They all walk to an area with pointed stalagmites with holes in them right in the middle of a large clear area. Each of them are pointed upwards and outwards with what looks almost like a man made platform in the middle. The group of childhood friends step into an area, only as soon as they do, some skeletons lying around snags their attention, and Eddie freaks out.
As he freaks out, the rest of the group tilts their heads back. They look up to see the area goes super high, the top of the cavern seemingly hundreds of feet above their heads.
“So…” Eddie starts, coming down from his freak out. “This has been under Derry for like forever?”
“Not forever.” Mike shakes his head. “Just a few million years.”
“That...that doesn’t help.” Stanley mumbles.
Em points her flash light to one of the pointed rocks and gasps as blood starts floating toward the top of the stalagmite formation, and even higher to the top of the cavern. The group of friends finally make it to the middle of the platform one by one and form a circle, almost like they’re about to play a game of Ring-Around-The-Rosie and not put an end to the one monster that haunted them as children.
Mike stands completely opposite of Em, but with Bill to his left and Eddie on his right side. Between Bill and Emily stands Stanley then Richie, respectively closer to his older sister in case he needs to save her. They both know it would be her saving him but that’s what he’s telling himself in this moment.
On her other side, Ben holds his wife’s left hand, making sure she stays close to him, his thumb softly rubbing over the inside portion of her wedding ring that faces his palm. Standing in the middle of Mike and Ben is Eddie, who is almost visibly shaking in his shoes.
“It can only be killed in its true form.” Mike says, looking up from the artifact holder. “The ritual shows that.”
“What is its true form?” Ben asks, looking at his friend.
“I hope it’s a puppy.” Richie says, causing everyone to sigh. “A Pomeranian….I’ll shut up.”
“It’s light.” Mike says, ignoring his loud friend. “Light that must be snuffed up by darkness.”
He pulls out lighter fluid from his bag and starts squirting into the artifact holder. Pulling out a thing of matches from the Chinese restaurant, he lights it and throws it into the holder, flames start immediately. He stands up and looks at everyone.
Emily and Ben quickly let go of each other's hands to put down their flashlights and reach into their pockets.
“Put it in the fire. Past must burn with the present.” Mike continues.
The eldest Tozier sibling pulls out the postcard from 27 years ago and smiles to herself, rubbing a finger over it. Ben glances over at his wife as he pulls out his wallet. Opening the money slot, he gently slides out the autograph page from the year he came to Derry with only Emily’s signature on it. Richie pulls out an actual token from the arcade.
Bill pulls out his and Georgie’s sailboat. Eddie has his inhaler. Stanley has the Kappah he wore during his Bar Mitzvah.
“Uhh this is the boat that I built with...” Bill starts to explain, pushing his tongue against the inside of his cheek. “...With Georgie.” He finishes, his voice cracking a little as he tosses the faded sailboat into the fire.
“It’s uh…my inhaler.” Eddie says, taking a puff of the medicine before looking at everyone.
When he continues to keep a tight hold on the small canister, Richie looks at him with a ‘really?’ look.
“Come on, dude.” He urges after another moment.
Eddie lets out a shaky sigh and reluctantly tosses his inhaler into the fire with Bill’s sailboat. Emily smiles as she glances down at her postcard in her hand before glancing at Ben who smiles back.
“Something from a very special someone. It’s something I wish I’d held onto all these years.” She says as she holds it over the flame, letting it slip through her fingers.
Ben speaks up next, holding his slip of paper. “This is uh...A page from my yearbook. That only one person signed. I probably should have forgotten it but I couldn’t because it’s been in my wallet for 27 years...I married the person who signed it, yet I couldn’t help but keep it...since it was the first time someone was nice to me in Derry…”
He smiles at his wife before he drops the well worn, folded too many times to count, almost faded piece of paper into the fire, watching it settle on top of Emily’s old postcard between the flames.
“Dude, that’s still my sister…” Richie sighs and shakes his head as he quickly pulls out his token. “This is a token from the capitol theater.”
As he tosses it into the fire as well, Eddie just stares at him, a little confused, and perhaps even slightly amused.
“You brought an actual token?” He asks.
Richie drops his shoulders. “Yeah, man. That’s what we were supposed to do, asshole.”
“Do you have any idea how long that is gonna take to burn?”
“Yeah...but so is your inhaler, dude.”
“Guys.” Ben cuts in. “Come on.”
“With the toxic fumes and shit...so…” Richie mumbles.
“It’s my Kappah…” Stanley starts, changing the subject. “I know I’m probably going to hell for this now…”
He takes a deep breath in and puts the Kappah inside. Even though he’s sending it to a fiery death, he’s still gentle with his motions of setting it in the flames with the other tokens from the group members. He might be burning it, but since it’s still a religious article, he’s still respectful in the process.
“Look closely, Em. You see it?” Mike asks, looking up at Emily who just nods as she looks at his token. “It’s where you hit Bowers.”
“The rock fight.” She smiles softly.
Mike nods, staring at the bloody rock. “That was the day that this bond was forged.”
Eddie whispers and pats Mike’s arm. “That’s not gonna burn either.”
He just nods and tosses it in. Before he can continue with his speech, Emily speaks up.
“Wait!” She begins to pat her pockets until she pulls out a pack of cigarettes. “Can’t forget Bev.”
She tosses it in the fire and looks back up at Mike.
“Okay, grab hands.” He says, putting his hands out to the men beside him.
Emily looks toward her husband before lacing her fingers with his already outstretched hand. Richie immediately grabs her hand before reaching for Stanley’s. A small wave relief passes through him when he feels his sister squeeze his hand. After everyone joins hands, they all look at Mike, waiting nervously for the next piece of information.
“The ritual of Chud. It’s a battle of wills. The first step was our reunion. The second was the gathering of tokens. This is the final step.” He says, watching the artifacts.
Almost immediately after he finishes his sentence, the fire goes out as if a wave of air passes through the area.
“What the?” Richie mumbles, looking down at the artifact.
The ceiling starts crackling as if it’s breaking open, causing Mike’s head to snap up toward the sound. A loud crack ricochets around them, surrounding them with a vibrating echo, and a light appears above them. The light gets brighter, illuminating the area where the group is standing. They immediately look up and gasp at what they see.
Three lights start to move down a small tunnel that appears to be wiggling back and forth, but it’s just the movement of the lights, showing large spikes pointing out from the walls.
“F-Fuck is that?” Bill whispers, terrified at what is happening above him.
“Don’t look at it!” Mike yells to his friends.
“Are those the deadlights?” Eddie yells, staring up at the ceiling.
“Don’t look at it!” Mike yells again, putting his head down.
“Okay.” Eddie quietly says, looking away.
Everyone immediately follows Mike’s direction and closes their eyes, tightly.
“Turn light into dark.” Mike starts chanting. “Turn light into dark. Say it!”
“Say what?” Bill asks, confused.
“Say it!” He yells. “Turn light into dark!”
Everyone quickly starts chanting the words, never staying insync. Each member screaming or whispering the words. Above them, a loud high pitched ringing is heard from the lights as they move closer. Mike begins to chant something else, this time, something in a native language.
“Turn light into dark! Mike, what’s happening, man?” Richie yells over the sounds of the vibrating lights and his friends.
“Keep chanting!” Mike calls out.
“Turn light into dark!” Emily screams with all her might, holding onto her husband's hand tighter.
“Turn light into dark!” Ben screams as the ringing gets louder, almost unbearably so.
The three lights get sucked into the artifact and Mike quickly lets go of Bill and Eddie’s hands. He grabs the lid for the artifact and quickly puts it on top while his friends grab onto his shoulders. After the vibrations immediately stop, the group’s chanting ceases...except for one.
“Turn light into dark. Turn light into dark! Did it work? Did we do it?” Eddie quickly asks before opening his eyes.
Everyone opens their eyes to watch what happens next. But what happens, well…it isn’t what they thought would happen. What seems to be a red balloon starts blowing up inside the artifact as if someone’s using a helium pump to blow it up. Emily gasps and takes a step back, keeping her grip on her husband and brother’s hands.
“I don’t think this is what happens, Mike.” She whispers, watching the artifact.
“Mike, is this supposed to be happening?” Richie asks, glancing at his friend.
“Keep chanting!” Mike says, trying to keep the balloon inside the canister.
“What?” Eddie asks, as if Mike just offended him.
“Keep chanting!” He says.
Bill, Eddie, Richie and Emily start chanting again but the balloon is getting too big for Mike to contain. It doubles in size in the matter of seconds, throwing Mike and Bill against the walls. Everyone quickly lets each other's hands go and Emily grabs her flashlight, shining it on the balloon. It keeps growing and growing, forcing everyone to back against the enclosure.
They all scream in fright at how fast this balloon is expanding, each of them jumping out of the platform one by one. The balloon grows faster until the enclosure can’t hold it anymore. The sharp edges immediately pop it, flinging everyone backward. Loud ringing fills everyone’s ears, making it so they can’t hear anything.
Muffled voices are heard but no one can depict what they are actually saying. Emily sits up slightly and grabs her head, trying not to sway back and forth. Her flashlight comes into her view and she crawls over, grabbing it. She holds it up to see around her and the first thing it shines on is her husband.
He jumps up, still dazed, but crawls quickly to his wife, helping her off the ground. Richie helps Bill off the ground. Everyone is talking to one another but no one can hear anything. After a few seconds of dazed movements and yelling, they begin to hear one another.
“Where’s Mike?” Stanley asks, stumbling toward the group slightly.
They glance around in the darkness, only being able to see what someone else’s flashlight is showing them. Realizing he’s not there, Ben, Richie and Stan begin to yell for their unofficial leader of the day. A second later, he runs up, panting.
“Here! I’m here.”
“Did we do it?” Richie asks him.
“Yeah, did we do it?” Eddie quickly asks right after his friend.
“Did it work?” Stan asks when Mike doesn’t answer him.
Emily’s flashlight stops working for a moment so she starts smacking it as everyone keeps interrogating Mike.
“We put the tokens in the thing. That’s good, right?.” Richie says, turning toward him.
The female Hanscom smacks her flashlight one last time, forcing it to stay on. She feels proud of herself for a moment and shines the light toward the platform before screaming when the light shines on a familiar face between the pointy rocks.
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Shark Post Shark Post.
I never know if I should post Kan on this blog or my other one. :/
The Gay Cat Man in the fourth image is named Lance, he belongs to and was drawn by my friend.
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I’ll Love You ‘Til I Die
Summary: A Brooklyn schoolgirl fell in love with James Buchanan Barnes at the tender age of nine. With this love she made a vow, promising to love him until her very last breath.
Pairing: Bucky x OFC
Word Count: 2.8k
Author’s Note: Enjoy some cute lil domestic moments
Chapter Eight: Soup, Tea, and Misunderstandings
December 20, 1935
“Y’know, I’m really worried about Steve this time around. He always comes down with somethin’ this time of year but dammit he doesn’t take care of himself.” Bucky didn’t meet her gaze from his seat on the steps of the fire escape. Lottie shifted in her spot, feeling the chill of the cold iron bars through her skirt; she sat at the bottom of the stairs, leaning against the brown brick of her tenement. His speaking was slightly muffled as he spoke around an unlit cigarette; it jumped up and down with the movement of his lips.
“What’d Mrs. Rogers say? What’s the diagnosis?” Lottie patted herself down for her spare matchbook. Bucky had made smoking more of a habit recently but was often forgetful about carrying matches with him, so she’d started carrying spare matchbooks on her person.
“I dunno, somethin’ like influenza. Doesn’t fuckin’ matter, Steve wouldn’t see the doctor till he was practically comatose.” Bucky’s voice cracked at the end; it was full of bitterness and melancholy, which made tears prick at her eyes. He and Steve were constantly bantering and ragging on each other, but they cared for each other deeply.
After searching for a while, Lottie fished a matchbook out of her pocket. She nudged his shin from her seat, holding it up, “Here.”
He nodded in thanks and quickly lit his cigarette, breathing the smoke in.
“Sometimes it’s like a second job— looking out for Steve,” Bucky mused, “I’m always dragging him out of some back-alley fight or I’m making sure he’s still breathing. Sometimes I have to end the fight before I can even get him out. He’s got too much cojones for his own good.”
“You don’t have to do it all on your own,” Lottie ventured, “I know I haven’t even graduated high school yet, but I’ve learned a lot about medicine already and I’ve always patched you boys up after a bad day. If you need help, tell me.”
Bucky looked at Lottie intently, “But Little Lottie, sometimes I feel like I gotta take care of you too. You’re only 15, you shouldn’t have to worry about this sorta thing.”
“Well then who’s gonna take care of you, Bucky?” She asked softly, “You take care of everyone except yourself. Let me take care of you by helping you out with Stevie, okay?”
Bucky hummed in thought but didn’t respond, taking another drag of his cigarette.
Lottie narrowed her eyes, “Okay, well, regardless of what you say, I’m gonna visit Steve today. But first I wanna make him soup. Are you gonna come inside and make some soup with me or are you gonna stay out here and mope?”
Bucky weighed his options— moping was appealing, but the cold was seeping into his bones. He stood up and put out his cigarette, “Alright, alright, let’s get inside.”
Lottie hesitated before she ducked back into the apartment; the only window that opened onto the fire escape was the one that led into her room. If her Ma found out that a boy had been in her room, she’d be locked up in a convent till kingdom come.
She grimaced and looked back at him, “Buck, I hate to ask you this, but would you mind climbing down and coming through the front door? My Ma would get real sore if she found out a guy so much as set foot in my room.” Her Ma wasn’t home at the moment, but Lottie was dreadful at keeping secrets from her; it was better to be safe than sorry.
“‘Course, Little Lottie, my Ma raised me to be a gentleman.” Bucky ruffled her hair and clambered down the fire escape ladder.
When she ducked into her room, she discarded her coat and shoes, then unlocked the door to the apartment, allowing Bucky to come right in. Lottie was tying an apron around her waist when he entered, “Alright, my Ma keeps some broth fixin’s in the icebox. Can you grab them? I’m gonna turn this radio on.”
Bucky shed his coat, throwing it over a chair, “Damn, what is this, a military base? Already ordering me around.”
She crossed the room to the radio which sat against the wall, “I’m just trying to cut the risk of you messing this soup up, Buck. If it takes running this kitchen like army boot camp, so be it,” Lottie grinned over her shoulder at him before fiddling with the knobs; a tune from 42nd Street soon floated through air.
“‘You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me,’ right?” Bucky asked, lining up jars of chicken gizzards and bones on the counter.
“Bucky Barnes, I’m starting to think you only like musicals that Ginger Rogers stars in,” Lottie teased as she walked back across the room to search the cupboards for a soup pot.
Bucky turned to her to defend himself, “Little Lottie, I’ll have you know that I just appreciate the lyrical work of Al Dubin a whole lot. It’s just a coincidence that Ginger Rogers has started in a few of his musicals.”
“Alright, alright,” she sighed, waving her hand dismissively, “D’you think you could empty those jars into the pot and add a bit of water? I’m gonna chop up some vegetables.”
“Yeah, I’m on it,” he nodded, cracking the jars open.
A new Benny Goodman tune, ‘Sing, Sing, Sing,’ filtered in through the radio, reminding Lottie of a past conversation. “Y’know Bucky, you still haven’t taught me how to swing dance; you said you would.”
As soon as the song had started, his fingers had begun to drum on the kitchen counter; it was like he was itching to dance. “I did say that, didn’t I? But I said ‘one of these days.’ Just have to wait ‘til the right day, I suppose.”
Lottie shot him a skeptical look as she chopped up broccoli stems and radish tops, “I’m beginning to think that you’re actually a terrible swing dance teacher and I’ll never learn at this rate.”
Bucky put a hand to his chest, feigning hurt, “I’ll have you know that all of the dames at the dance hall think I’m a wonderful teacher.”
At the mention of his companions for his dance hall escapades, Lottie faltered in her chopping, one of her fingers getting nicked by the knife. “Dammit!” She hissed in pain and dropped the knife; blood started to dribble from the cut on her index finger.
At her sound of pain, Bucky strode over to her side, “Shit Little Lottie, you gotta be more careful with those knives. C’mon sit down.” He pulled out a kitchen chair and made her sit while he grabbed a bandage and wet cloth.
“I was careful, I swear,” Lottie mumbled, “The knife did this to me in a cold-blooded attack.”
Bucky hummed and knelt before her so he could get a good look at her injury, “I have reason to believe that this knife wouldn’t attack anyone unprovoked.”
Lottie secretly savored the way that his strong, calloused hands cradled one of hers as he inspected the nick. She batted her lashes and smiled sweetly; she was the picture of innocence, “Bucky, you know I’d never hurt a fly.”
“Never hurt a fly, huh? Don’t think I don’t remember that time you gave a guy one hell of a punch to kisser because he was tryin’ to look at your journal.” Bucky looked up from his ministrations, his lips curling into a smile.
“Well everyone knows not to look through a lady’s personal belongings,” she sniffed. Bucky didn’t respond immediately— he was busy carefully applying the antiseptic. He was gentle in everything that he did, making sure that his touch was barely a whisper over her nick to make sure she felt no pain from it. Lottie marveled at how tender he was in his actions; it briefly reminded her of that fateful day five years ago. Her affections for him had barely changed since then; if anything, they’d matured and deepened since then.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Bucky murmured, finishing his handiwork. Lottie blushed at that but tried to hide it, “I think you should know by now that these thoughts are priceless,” she tapped her head, “You’d need all the pennies in the world.”
He smirked up at her, releasing her hands, “You know I’d give you all the pennies in the world if I could.” Bucky whispered it like a secret, and she was suddenly brought back to the moment he’d given her that lucky penny. It felt like years ago and yesterday, all at once.
Before, Lottie wasn’t sure if he remembered that little act of kindness, but by the look in his eye, she could now tell that he did. Her lucky penny still rested in a mason jar on her dresser; it was accompanied by the brass and green glass necklace at night, but during the day, it was nestled below the hollow of her throat.
Lottie fidgeted with the chain of the necklace and pulled herself out of her reverie; they needed to finish that soup. Bucky’s gaze flickered from the necklace to her face, then he stood up. She straightened her apron, “We should get back to that soup, can’t leave Stevie waiting.”
Before returning to the kitchen counter, she placed a hand on his arm, “Thanks a lot, by the way.” Bucky smirked at her, “Just makin’ up for how often you’ll have to do that for me in advance.”
Lottie giggled at that, dumping her chopped vegetables into their broth, “It’s good to know that I’ll always have employment as long as you keep getting yourself into trouble.”
As the soup simmered, she added some salt; she unfortunately had no other seasonings to spare. “There should be some rice in the top cupboard, can you grab that for me?” She gestured to the cupboard above her with her wooden spoon.
“Sure thing.” He gently nudged her over so he could reach the cupboard. She smiled in thanks when he handed the mason jar of rice to her; she ignored how much their sides were touching. Lottie tossed in a few tablespoons of rice and put a lid on the pot so it could finish cooking.
Lottie started rummaging through a different cupboard, “D’you want some tea while we wait? It’ll be about ten minutes.”
“‘Course,” Bucky nodded. He sat down at the table, tapping his foot to a Boswell Sisters tune. She hummed along to the tune as she put the kettle on the stove, heating up some water; two porcelain cups rested on the counter to her left.
Silence fell upon them, the void filled by the sound of simmering soup and the crooning of the Boswell Sisters,
“The object of my affection
Can change my complexion
From white to a rosy red
Anytime he holds my hand
And tells me that he's mine”
Lottie spared a glance outside as she waited for the kettle to boil; the view from the window was clogged by a flurry of thick snowflakes that twirled and drifted down. “It’s snowing, Buck. Looks like we’ll have a white Christmas,” she smiled, not looking away from the window.
“It’ll be hell to walk in. If you come over to Steve’s apartment, you’ll end up just as sick as he is.” Ah, there it was. The worrying.
Lottie tore her gaze away from the window, “I promise I’ll bundle up real good. ‘Sides, I love walking in the snow. The snowflakes and the street lamps make it real romantic, I think.”
Bucky snorted, “Ah, so you must be plannin’ on walking up and down Broadway with that Madigan guy, huh?”
She let out a frustrated noise, “Are you and Steve ever gonna let that go? He’s just a friend and I haven’t seen him in a good week.” She’d run into Walter a few times since the Rockaway Beach encounter; he’d usually stop by the corner store and loiter for a good half hour, but she made sure to keep their interactions distinctly friendly.
The kettle started whistling, so she took it off the heat and poured water into both cups, “I’ll have you know that walking in the snow at night can be romantic even without a sweetheart. It’s like having a picnic in the park in the beginning of June; you can just sit in silence and let the world do the rest of the work.”
Bucky cocked his head at the last part, “The rest of the work?”
Lottie brought both of the cups over and set them on the table, sitting across from him. She grabbed a teabag and steeped hers for a few seconds before handing it over to him.
She shrugged, “Y’know, when you can just be and you don’t have to worry about anything. Sitting in the sun and letting it warm you to the core, or being able to walk for miles in the snow ‘cause it’s not too cold all you’ve got are the snowflakes kissing you on the cheek.”
Bucky sipped at has tea, watching her over the rim of his cup, “Geez Little Lottie, you really are quite the romantic. What next, are you gonna start spoutin’ some William Wordsworth?”
Lottie rolled her eyes, “I’m just keen on the natural world is all. And since when have you been reading poetry?” She’d always known he appreciated literature, especially science fiction; he’d read Frankenstein several times over, but he’d never shown interest in poetry before.
Bucky smirked and winked across the table, “Ever since I learned how much the dames appreciate a good verse or two.”
Lottie hummed and took a sip of her tea, “And they just go gaga for a bit of Wordsworth?”
“Oh they think he’s the cat’s pajamas; same thing with Percy Shelley.”
Lottie shook her head in disbelief, “I’m sorry Buck, but I really can’t believe that you memorized loads of poetry just to woo some girls.”
Bucky shrugged, “I didn’t memorize loads, but I do have a couple that the dames are real keen on. My favorite’s by Shelley, it goes like this,” he cleared his throat and threw her his lopsided grin. He was going to put on a show for her.
Without warning, he grabbed her hands from around her tea cup,
“See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;”
Lottie saw that look of tenderness in his eye, the kind she saw when he was murmuring sweet nothings into the ear of his dance partner while she watched from the bar. He was good at this. Too good.
“And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?”
On the last line he used this soft, low voice she’d never heard before. It made her head spin and her breathing nearly stop; oh and those eyes of his, so stunningly blue and kind, staring straight into her soul. Lottie wanted desperately to freeze time and live in this moment forever, in some fantasy world where she was one of those willowy dance hall girls. How they’d dance, locked in an embrace for hours, with his lips near her ear, and he’d murmur that poem, low and sweet, then she’d gaze up at him and—
Lottie jerked her hands out of his grasp, red faced and short of breath. “I think the soup’s done,” she murmured, averting her gaze to the floor. She wrung her hands in her apron, trying desperately to wipe away the feeling of her hands in his. Unrequited feelings were painful enough, but indulging in starry-eyed daydreams made the soul-burning ache so much more of a burden.
“Y’know what, you were right earlier; maybe it would be a better idea if you just brought the soup by yourself. My Ma’d be furious if I went out in the cold this time of year; she doesn’t want me getting sick.” Lottie busied herself with pouring the soup into a suitable container for transport, blatantly ignoring Bucky’s burning, curious gaze.
Bucky stood and started to apologize, “Little Lottie, I’m sorry if I—“
“No, no, don’t apologize for anything. Here,” she wrapped the container of soup in a cloth to keep it warm, and shoved it into his hands. She snatched up his tattered coat and handed it over for him to put on. She made a mental note about the coat, he really needed a new one for the New York weather.
“Send Steve my love,” Lottie said as a parting, then sent a very confused Bucky on his way. As soon as he was out the door, Lottie retreated to her room and threw herself onto her bed, groaning in self-pity. She couldn’t bring herself to even mumble her vow, too upset with her own feelings.
As Bucky trudged along towards Steve’s apartment, he held the container close to his chest to stay warm. He contemplated the odd situation from earlier with Lottie, not able to understand why she started acting so strange. He considered all their actions for the day, and it finally dawned on him. When Bucky was demonstrating his wooing skills, he’d grabbed her hands, probably still in pain from the knife incident; he had probably held her hands a little too tight and only worsened the injury, making her get all agitated like that. He decided that he’d drop by the fire escape to apologize the next day.
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Subtle Things Like – Four (Lee Felix x OC)
MASTERLIST | STL MASTERLIST
A/N: It took forever to edit this. I hate the original version, so this is very updated and fits a little better into the direction I've been going. I hope you enjoy!
Summary: It takes some longer to fall in love, to realize they've always been in love. Sometimes all that's needed is to watch someone else show interest and threaten to whisk that special someone away.
If would like to be tagged, let me know!
Mia sits between Felix and Chan, not minding their elbows bumping into hers occasionally. Meanwhile, she’s trying to dodge Jisung since he decided dinner is the perfect time to attempt kicking the bottom of her feet – not that she minded that much. It isn’t until Jeongin and Seungmin team up with Jisung when Chan sighs and goes into “dad-mode” to tell them to stop while at the table. Mia responds by bumping her ankle into his leg a few times before he traps her head under his arm and messes up her hair. The laughs echo around the room after she gets free and combs her fingers through her hair.
Felix can’t look away from the colors of her hair, eventually reaching over to help straighten out a few locks attempting to curl around her ear. He doesn’t notice her struggling to not shiver when his fingers barely touch her skin, going back to his food as soon as he feels Mia’s hair is back in order. The curious stares of his friends also go unnoticed.
Except by Mia. Her face and neck seem to burst into flames upon seeing six pairs of knowing eyes watching. Chan eats his food with a small smile that makes it a thousand times harder to look up from her plate.
“This is amazing, Minho,” Mia says in hopes of ignoring what happened. “Do you have a recipe you follow? I’d love to learn it if you are willing.”
Minho blinks. “Uh, sure. Thank you. I'm glad you like it.”
“Are you embarrassed?” Jisung teases him, nudging his arm.
“No.” Minho steals a cut of meat off Jisung’s plate.
A sound of disbelief leaves Jisung, but he doesn’t fight much more than that. With a single look from Minho, Jisung goes quiet, pouting after he shoves food in his mouth.
Mia smiles at them.
Felix swallows his bite of food and looks toward Minho. “Is it okay for me and Mia to bake something here?”
“Sure,” Minho says. “Clean up after yourselves though.”
“Of course!” Mia says. “Do any of you have a preference for what we make?”
“We like anything Felix bakes. We’re not picky,” Chan says. “Well, Hyunjin might want something specific.”
She looks at the male sitting next to Chan. “Is there a sweet you’d like more that we can make for you?”
“I’ll eat whatever you make,” he smiles.
“Are you sure?”
Hyunjin nods. “I think the two of you together will bake something good that I’ll like.”
“Okay. If you don’t, then I’ll make you something different tomorrow.”
Another smile gets sent her way.
Mia turns to look at Felix, who acts like he wasn’t watching her exchange with Hyunjin like a hawk by quickly shoving a mouthful of food in his mouth. It makes her giggle and mutter a quiet “cute” that only he and Chan could hear. “Do you think chocolate chip cookies will be okay? They don’t take as long as brownies or cake and we can customize them for everyone.”
Felix can’t speak because his mouth is full, so he nods. The way her face seems to light up almost makes him flustered. Almost. But he keeps his cool and continues eating as if she has little effect on him. Maybe if there weren’t so many people around…
Eventually, dinner concludes and everyone gathers their dishes to be cleaned. Chan takes Mia’s dishes from her before she can get up from her seat with a cheeky grin.
“I can help, you know.”
“Nope!” he calls from where he’s placed dishes on the counter. “You’re our guest and you two need to prepare to make cookies.”
“Okay, I get that, but if you let me help, we can start baking sooner.”
“Too bad. Go wash your hands and help Felix gather ingredients, okay?”
“You’re no fun…”
Felix chuckles as he dries off his hands. “Didn’t you fight your mom when she asked you to do dishes as a child?”
“That’s different. Mom was telling me to do them. I’m offering to be helpful and nice.”
“How could you be mean to your mother?” Hyunjin gasps as he walks by to grab a few cups off the table. “You should always do chores for her.”
“I’m just a brat, Hyunjinnie.” Mia giggles seeing Hyunjin look at her seriously. “I never listen to my mom.”
Hyunjin looks directly at Felix. “And you’re friends with her?”
“Chan is friends with her, too,” Felix points out.
“Leader! How could you let such a bad influence in our home!”
Minho once again shouts out that it’s his home, making all of them laugh.
Chan glances over his shoulder at Hyunjin. “Don’t worry, Hyunjin, Mia still loves her mother. Fighting is how they show love.”
“That sounds a bit like Minho and Changbin,” Jising teases.
Both males protest loudly, causing Jisung to run out of the room. Changbin follows him and they hear a little scream and a solid smack.
“Did he slap him?” Mia asks, standing in concern.
Felix gently has her sit back down. “Wait.”
Mia does, looking toward the kitchen entrance where Felix is watching. Lo and behold, Changbin walks in dusting his hands off with a pouting Jisung trudging behind him. A loud cackle slips from her lips when she catches sight of Jisung’s rubbing his butt where the smacking sound must have come from.
“Ouch,” she mutters to Felix, and they both chuckle.
“Let’s get ingredients,” Felix suggests. “They’re almost done in the kitchen.”
With a quick nod, Mia gets on her feet and follows Felix to the cabinet with a few of the ingredients they need. To the others catching glimpses of them moving around the kitchen – both doing a good job at not bothering the dish washers – Mia looks oddly like a puppy following Felix. And she willingly holds ingredients for him while he looks for the next thing they need, her face scrunching as she smiles at him when he hands her something new.
Hyunjin can’t help pausing what he’s doing to watch. The way Mia’s eyes are focused on Felix when he reaches up high or down low, it’s easy to see he’s her world. What is that like? To have someone so important in his life that he can’t look away from them? What about being on the receiving end of that? Hyunjin would feel so overwhelmed by it. He would love it, yes, but wouldn’t know what to do with all that emotion given to him. He wonders if she knows she’s in love with Felix and if she’s told him.
“All right,” Chan says. “We’re done. Now it’s time for Felix and Mia to make us some tasty cookies.”
“We’ll call you when we’re done,” Mia smiles.
“Thank you, Mia,” Jeongin says before leaving the room with Changbin and Jisung.
Seungmin cackles. “He didn’t thank Felix.”
Felix shrugs. “It’s fine. I know where I stand with our maknae.”
“It’s okay, Felix,” Mia reassures, patting his shoulder. “You and I know you’re the real baking master. I’m only the support.”
“No, you’re a good baker, too.”
“Don’t make a mess,” Minho warns. “I won’t clean it up if you do.”
“I’ll take care of any mess we make, Minho. That’s what support does in the kitchen, right?”
Chan chuckles while gathering the rest of the members like ducklings. “Just have fun and make delicious cookies. We’ll stay out of your space for a little bit.”
And then Felix and Mia were left alone.
She smiles. “I like your friends a lot, Lix. They’re funny and kind.”
“They like you, too,” Felix says, gathering a couple of mixing bowls. “It almost feels like you’re a part of us after a day. I’m glad you’re getting along.”
“Me, too.” Mia straightens her shoulders and puffs out her chest, ready to work. “All right, what would you like me to do first?”
Practiced hands work together throughout the kitchen, mixing ingredients properly and quickly followed by preparing each cookie on a baking sheet. In no time, they have the first batch in the oven while they lay out the next tray of cookies. The two bakers naturally fall into a routine they thought was forgotten after being apart for a few years.
Their laughter can be heard through the apartment, the other guys chuckling at the sound of their antics. Chan smiles the biggest while listening to the bad jokes Mia keeps telling Felix, who genuinely laughs at all of them – some he also groans over. Chan, Hyunjin, and Jeongin are the only ones lounging in the living room. Jisung, Seungmin, and Changbin all went to Jisung’s apartment to start playing video games. Minho wanted a little time to himself before eating cookies.
“Mia should move here,” Jeongin comments, not looking up from his phone.
Chan laughs. “As fun as that would be, Mia’s home is in Australia. That’s where her life is.”
“What’s in Australia for her?”
“Well, her job is there for one. A lot of older people would miss her and she’d miss them. Her mother is there, too.”
“I thought she didn’t get along with her mother,” Hyunjin says with a raised eyebrow.
“No, no. She gets along with her mother well. They argue like any other family.” Chan resituates the beanie on his head. “But she’s all her mother has left.”
“I don’t know everything, but her father left them when she was really little. Mia can explain better though. From what I know, her parents got married young when her dad took a trip to South Africa and met her mother. Soon after they had Mia and then her dad left, so her mother moved to Sydney and that’s where they’ve been ever since.”
Jeongin frowns. “That’s sad. Is Mia okay? Is her mother okay?”
“Yeah,” Chan says. “It happened a long time ago. Mia feels bad her mother went through that but doesn’t care much about who her father is. He’s just an unfortunate part of her family’s story. But she did take her father’s last name because it’s easier to say than her mother’s name.”
“What is it?”
“I’m not even going to try,” Chan laughs. “Mia can’t even say it.”
Hyunjin smiles more to himself than to Chan when suddenly Mia comes sliding into the room with several small spoonfuls of cookie dough.
“Cookie dough!” she cheers, promptly handing Chan one, then Jeongin, and lastly Hyunjin. “Where is everyone else?”
“Minho is probably in his room. The others went to play video games.”
She shrugs. “That’s their loss!” And she scampers away toward Minho’s room, cheerfully knocking and handing over a spoon when he opens the door. Mia runs back by with a spoon in her mouth and a giggle. She disappears back into the kitchen where they can hear Felix playfully scold her for running with a spoon in her mouth.
“Is she always like this?” Hyunjin asks, staring toward the kitchen.
“Usually.” Chan eats some of his cookie dough. “I’ve only seen her act differently two or three times. The most recent was when Felix moved here. She was a mess, more than when I moved here. I think the worst was when she told Felix she loved him and he rejected her.”
“He rejected her?” Jeongin’s mouth falls open.
Hyunjin’s eyes are wide. “She loves Felix?”
“Yes, she does. A lot. I wasn’t joking earlier.” Chan’s spoon is set on his lap after he licks in clean. “And yes, Felix rejected her. She told him one day when they were in middle school or something. She was strange for a few days until she suddenly wasn’t. Mia’s joked about her feelings since then and they stayed friends.”
They hear Mia coo over Felix’s cooking molding ability and his embarrassed grumble of appreciation.
Hyunjin and Jeongin speak at the same time. “Does she still love him?”
“I don’t think she could stop even if she fell in love with someone else.” Chan lowers his voice a little, looking seriously between Hyunjin and Jeongin. “But I’m pretty sure Felix loves her back by now. It’s hard to tell.”
“I think he is,” Jeongin states confidently.
“We could test him,” Hyunjin says.
Chan pulls his bottom lip between his teeth for a second while he thinks. “How do you mean?”
“Make him jealous, so he has no choice but to confess to her.”
There’s a quiet moment where the eldest figures out if this is a good idea for his friends. “If you have a plan, tell me what it is and I’ll decide if it’s a good idea to try. I don’t want either of them hurt from this.”
“What if it’s temporary hurt?”
Chan sighs. “Just tell me what you’re thinking and we’ll see.”
Hushed voices can’t be heard in the kitchen where Mia is telling Felix a story about a trip she and her mother took to New Zealand earlier in the year. Both completely unaware of their conspiring friends’ conversation one room over.
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Man Out of Time: Chap 51, Respect Our Space
Our small family sits at the breakfast table eating our special occasion favorite, chocolate chip waffles. I swirl a big mound of whipped cream on Maggie's waffle, and the little girl smiles up at me with her bright blue Steve Rogers's eyes. Her eyes are the twins of her dad's after the serum. Pre-serum his eyes were mostly green, the bright blue barely weaved its way through. Her fork first goes into the dollop of whip cream, taking a big bite of the white fluff with a smile, looking over at Charlie. Charlie returns the smile shaking her head.
Today is finally Friday. Today Steve will be here, and I need a moment with the man. I watch his small daughter. She kicks her legs around excited for her favorite breakfast and Steve's visit. Charlie's hand rubs along my thigh, her chair is awkwardly at the corner of the table to bring her closer to me. I don't know how I feel about sitting at the head of the table if it means being further away from her. Time in the cottage is just such a bliss. I'm enjoying this time off, but I'm sure it will quickly be taken away from us. Another mission is bound to be coming sooner than we would wish.
"When is daddy coming again?" Maggie looks over to her mom. She's asked several times already this morning. She wants to tell him all about Louisiana, and getting to go on the boat. I'm sure he'll make a comment about Charlie not being on the boat with her.
"Well, little pearl it's now 8:30. Your dad comes at 2:00. That means you have five hours and thirty more minutes. Make sure to eat your eggs, too."
"Ugh. Can he not come earlier and spend longer?" She whines. I see Charlie take in a deep breath wanting to stay calm for Maggie, but 2:00 was the time that Steve suggested.
"We can talk to him about that." I assure the young girl; Charlie gives me a soft smile and we continue to eat breakfast. "We should do a hike through the woods today. I haven't walked around the property much."
"Really?" Maggie asks. Her bright eyes look over to Charlie asking the same question.
"I think that's a great idea, Bucky. Eat up and we'll get ready. I'll make us a picnic lunch." Maggie quickly shovels food in her mouth, "Ma'am, you need to slow down. Choking on your food isn't going to do you any good." Maggie sighs, but does slow down her eating.
Once she's full she walks over to me and gives me a big hug and thanking me for suggesting the hike. I know I have a dopey smile when I look over at Charlie and her face is emotionless. "I've been traded in, I tell you." I laugh at her. "She was always meant to be a daddy's girl. And now her bonus dad is getting all the love."
"I did suggest we go hiking." I chuckle at her. "And you'll always be her mom. No one can take your place." She rolls her eyes at me. "You'll pay for that later."
"Whatever do you mean, James?" Her lips softly kiss on mine.
"You enjoy being a brat, don't you?" She gives a shrug. My arms pull her over to my lap. "Yeah, you do, doll." Our lips connect. Her tongue tickles along my lips before I return the touch with my own. Soaking up her taste. "Save that for later." I pat on her thigh.
"You're right. I need to get us a lunch packed." She quickly pecks my lips and goes to walk into the kitchen. I gather up the dirty dishes and begin loading them in the dishwasher, and washing up the dishes from the breakfast preparation while Charlie continues to pack lunch. "You know, it's still early. We could just leave the lunch here and have picnic outside, that way Maggie can play on the play set."
"Whatever you think doll." I quickly give her a kiss, but she holds tightly to me, lingering our kiss.
"You two finished?" Maggie taps her foot on the floor. "Because I'm ready to go."
"Watch your manners, Maggie James." Charlie gives her the mom look that I've grown accustomed to.
"Sorry." The small blonde sheepishly says. "But are you about finished?"
"Yes, you need some sneakers on though, little lady." I tell her. She runs back in her room.
"Fifty-seven...fifty-eight...fifty-nine...sixty. Ready or not here I come!" I call to the two girls in my life. After lunch we decided to play some hide and seek to pass the time, until Steve arrives. Spotting a giggling Maggie almost immediately her bright blonde pigtails wiggling around with her body, I don't want to expose her though, so I set off looking for Charlie. Walking past Maggie's hiding spot causes her to giggle a bit louder, seeing that I missed her. "Maggie? Is that you giggling?" I call out in front of me.
"No." Her small voice calls out. Lord, she's been around Sam too long.
Catching a glimpse of Charlie, I stealthily walk behind her. Wrapping my arms around her waist. "You wanted to get caught, didn't you?"
"Oh no. Why would I want to get caught White Wolf?" Her lips meet mine. "Let's find the little one. I heard her giggling."
"No, you didn't!" She calls back. Half a super soldier. Maggie has excellent hearing.
"You go left and I'll go right." Charlie casts in my mind, I give her a quick nod and we stalk around Maggie. Her wild squeal echoes through the property as Charlie and I chase her around. She weaves her body expertly trying to avoid capture.
"No! You'll never take me alive." She giggles. Charlie is able to grab her up, tickling her. Not to be outdone I swoop in grabbing both girls up and bringing us to the ground in a fit of laughter.
I hear a quick click of a phone and then the voice we've all been waiting to hear. "Well, isn't this a sweet picture." He yells over to us, he places Charlie's phone back on the table, and slowly walks down the steps to the yard.
Maggie's eyes go bright, you can see the delight in her blue green eyes as she pulls herself from Charlie's grasp and a gleeful, "Daddy!" gushes out of her mouth. Her little legs run up to Steve and he swings her up in his arms, throwing her up in the air before catching her. I still will never understand how he was able to leave the girl.
"Daddy, how's Peggy been?" She asks.
"She knows about Peggy?" I cast over to Charlie.
"I guess so. I was unaware about that."
"She's good little one. We'll talk about her later." His eyes narrow towards me and Charlie still sitting on the cool ground, wrapped up in each other. "How've you been Buck?" His eyes finally meet mine.
"I can honestly say I've never been better. We've got a good life, huh, doll?" I give her a quick kiss and pull ourselves up off the ground and walk towards them. "Good to see you again, punk." I wrap my arms around Steve and Maggie.
"Steve." Charlie nods and kisses his cheek. No bit of jealousy is left when it comes to those two. I'm not stupid, I know exactly what I mean to Charlie. Multiple times she allows her empathy to wash over me when we orgasm together. And Steve is never in those visions. Visions of her current feelings for me. Visions of our future together and what she's envisioned for us. A beautiful and long life together.
"Maggie, why don't you go color me a picture so I can talk to your mom and Bucky alone for a bit." Great. Not sure why he wants to talk to us, I'm the one who needs to be talking to him. I wish things could just be normal between us three. The young girl runs inside. "Make it pretty I'm going to hang it on the fridge at home." His eyes flick between me and Charlie and she just snuggles up closer to my side. I inhale the sweet smell of her floral perfume drifting over to me.
"What's this about Steve?" She asks. Her tone is soft, not wanting to ruin our good day so far.
"Peggy thinks I'm coming too often. Taking the Pym Particles is becoming more difficult for her." His hand connects with her shoulder and leads us to the swing, while he sits in a chair. "And I understand this is a lot to ask of you two, but if I'm not coming as often...well, I would like to stay longer. Stay for a few days or week...ss." The s is a whisper but we both hear it. "And don't talk in your heads. I'd prefer to hear what you both think. I mean it won't feel like anytime at all on Peggy's end."
Charlie's eyes meet mine, contemplating everything he's saying. "There is a guest room." She whispers. "And you're here with me. But this is your home, too, Bucky. I need you to be comfortable with everything."
I give her a smile before looking at Steve. "It would have to be scheduled days. We would need to know exactly how long you're planning on staying. That time watch will be locked away."
"Are you afraid I'll take my daughter with me?" He asks, eyes narrowing at me.
"Yes. The thing is Steve, you left. You chose to leave this timeline to go back to then. So, you're the one that suffers. Not Charlie, not Maggie, not me. Not to mention we have to have a man to man talk." Charlie's legs drape over my lap and she leans further back on the swing.
"This is about the other day? When you guys went on a date?" Sadness flashes in his eyes and he looks at Charlie. He's surprised she told me.
Gritting my teeth, I nod my head. "Among other things."
"Okay...Also, there's the business of Peggy. As you can tell Maggie knows about her." Nervously his hands rub together. The callouses and dryness of his hands cause a rough humming sound.
"Does Maggie understand who Peggy is to you? And you were honest about why you've been traveling through time?" Charlie chooses her words carefully.
"Yes. She knows that Peggy and I are married." I watch his Adam's apple bob up and down, as he tries to hold back tears. "I don't know what I did when I left her. I love Peggy, but being away from Maggie is so hard. I didn't expect for it to be like this or feel like this." He pauses as a tear falls down his cheek. "I may have made a mistake, but I can't change it now. Charlie...I'm so sorry for doing that to you. And all the things I've done to you. I just assumed you would always be there. Always forgive me."
"Steve, I am here for you."
"Not like I wanted you to be. But you were right. I used you. I always compared you to her. I was too dumb to see what was right in front of me." I begin to say something, but Steve puts his hand up at me. "But when I saw you two together, I knew I was never meant to be with you. And that hurt. I thought that I had missed out on the person I was supposed to be with twice then. The first because of the plane crash. And the second because I was too dumb and stubborn to see what I had in front of me."
"Steve..." I begin. My teeth grit together again.
"I'm not trying to take your girl, Bucky. I know she's meant to be with you. The universe just had a cruel way to keep us all intertwined."
"Steve...did something happen with Peggy?" Charlie whispers to him. Her eyes can't meet his. She just draws shapes with her fingers on my metal arm.
"She thinks I come too often to this time. And when you were away Buck, she...she thought that I had been unfaithful to her. She said that must be why I wanted to come so often. She hasn't had a baby yet and doesn't understand the pull I have to Maggie."
"You were unfaithful." Charlie's voice is almost inaudible. There it is. I had been wanting to avoid this. Charlie basically told me this happened. No details, and she wasn't unfaithful. He was.
"I'm sorry, Buck." The only thing that can come out of his mouth. He can't look me in the eye, and I stare only at him.
"Charlie. Can you give us a minute?" My fists are tight. This ends today. That way we can move forward. Especially if he's going to be spending more time here.
"I'm fine, doll. It's just time for this. Why don't you start supper? I was thinking those chorizo enchiladas you make that I love. Sound good Steve?" Still not looking at me he nods. His head is held low. He's ashamed, as he should be. "Hey, I love you Charlotte...Barnes." She rolls her eyes but gives me a kiss before walking inside. "How about some elote too? Maybe a tres leches cake." I try to keep her busy for a while. And if this conversation is not too long, I can go in and help her.
Steve's eyes finally meet mine. "We were drunk."
"I don't care. She told me. We weren't together." I know that my eyes are cold as I look at him, but I want us to be on good terms, leave the past in the past.
"She loves you. Loved you then. Even screamed your name." He lets out an awkward laugh.
"Steve." I growl out his name. I don't want to talk about this. "Enough. That's not even what I want to talk about. That day we went on our first date. I know Charlie talked to you, and I know that you saw her on the phone with me. You have to respect our space." Ashamed he looks away. "I know...you've seen her...before. But she's with me now. I want to marry her." His eyes shift to look at me. A moment of sadness and happiness peers from his eyes. He's very conflicted. "I just have to ask Clint and her dad."
"Her dad died in a car crash." He's confused. And I don't know how much I should tell him.
"No, he didn't. That was her adopted dad." Now it's my turn to look away from him.
"Adopted? W-what?" He deeply breathes in. Clearly his mind is a whirlwind.
"Zemo, he had a file of Charlie's time in Hydra." Bright blue green eyes look at me scared. "There was SD cards with videos of her time there. And like I told you, from the moment we met when she was eight, I felt a strong need to protect her. She basically grew up there. I was able to help her escape when she was eighteen."
"No. She moved in with the Barton's when she was sixteen." His eyes shift around, and even turns to look back in the house at Charlie.
"No. She had amazing powers in Hydra. Ones that just recently became known. She used her powers to make her forget, and made herself believe she was sixteen so that the Barton's would take her in to live."
"Eighteen?" His mind races as he puts together that piece.
"Yeah. Eighteen." I sigh. "I don't know how much I should tell you. It's just as much her story as mine."
"What happened in there?" An edge of anger comes through his voice.
"Hydra saw our affections for one another. As a child she was able to get me out of the Winter Soldier mode. I even put a gun to Pierce's head when I thought he would hurt her. She was nine. She had a very evident crush on me when she was older...and when she became of age, we fell for one another. A man named John Garrett picked up on this and him and Pierce decided to let me be free around the compound, and they allowed us to..."
"What?" His back straightens up as he looks at me. "What are you telling me?" Again, darkness and anger are in his voice.
"Pierce wanted us to have a baby. He gave her fertility pills and told her they were vitamins."
"Why would he want that?" Steve speaks through his teeth.
"He wanted an asset that would be half super soldier and half demigod...well demigoddess." My eyes meet his and I watch him soak that piece of information in.
"What?" His chest heaves, almost as if he's having a panic attack. "Who's her father?" Meeting my eyes, trying to read me. And then with a deep sigh, "Thor?" I nod my head. "He knew. He asked me to send her with him to Asgard during the time heist. Nearly begged me. Thor never gave me a reason why. He just told me she helped him, and he always wanted her to see Asgard. He had to have wanted to take her back home. See if that would help her remember." Most of his words are to himself as he rambles. "Thor saw his mother. She would have got to see Charlie again. When did she leave Asgard? How did she get there? You said demigoddess. So, her mother was human?"
"In the video she told Garrett that her grandfather made her and her mom leave because she was a distraction to Thor and Frigga. We have to talk to Thor to get some details. So, I'm not sure." We stare at one another for a few moments.
"Was Hydra successful with their plan? I mean...did you guys...were you guys ever...together?" I see the sadness in his eyes. He doesn't want me to be the one who Charlie gave her virginity to.
"There was no baby. But yes, we were together." My voice is solemn, because I can see what this means to him.
"She told me I was her first." I watch his hands clench into a fist.
"She didn't remember, Steve. Hydra didn't wipe her memories. She did. And she did a damn good job."
"And you? In Vienna, I shared her with you. And you had already been with her."
"Steve...you're overreacting here. Charlie isn't property. You don't get to own her. You don't get to tell her what to do." Angry he stares over to me. "This is stupid. You admitted that she took Peggy's place. That she reminded you of Peggy, so you settled. I'm not settling, she is who I want."
"It was always you. She was always going to choose you. She took her memories with you away from herself, and still chose you." I take a deep breath. Allowing him one more comment before he pisses me off. "I was never meant to be with her."
"Jealousy doesn't look good on you, Steve."
"Oh, shut up. I spent eight years with that woman. Up until she met you, I knew she loved me. Was in love with me. And now everything makes sense. She was frozen the moment she saw you face to face. You didn't want to let her go. You never hurt her even in the Winter Soldier mode." I give him a look. I strangled her and hit her. "Not like you did with everyone else. You wanted to kill us. You took her, because you wanted her...wow."
"Wow?" I look at him. Confused at the comment.
"Charlie is daughter of Thor. Her official adopted uncle was Clint. Nat helped train her, and was like a sister to her. Tony basically adopted her. She has a child with me. And in love with Bucky Barnes. She is weaved so deep in the Avengers. How was this information never out?" He smiles at me. We're past the awkward part.
"We both think that Natasha might have known more than she told anyone. Maybe even Clint."
"You ever teach her to fight with knives in Hydra?" I give him a smile nodding my head. "Makes sense. She moves like you."
"She could even lace the knife with lightning. She did wrap her lightning around the shield. She's amazing."
"Why did you call her Charlie Barnes?" He huffs out a laugh.
"I like teasing her about her last name." I give a chuckle, trying to peer through the window at my girl. This is my life. This isn't a dream.
"Is Hydra going to get their wish? I know that Charlie wanted more kids once Maggie got older."
"We said we're going to wait until we're married. I honestly would be okay with her being pregnant now. I'm trying to do things right with her, you know? Charlie has never had the chance to have a normal life. She was raised in Asgard until she was eight. Then in Hydra until she was eighteen. Then raised by Avenger until she was twenty-five. Got in a complicated relationship with a man who wouldn't take her out on a date." I look over at Steve. There's no anger in my voice. I've accepted Charlie's past just like she has mine. There's nothing that we don't know about one another now.
"It seems it all worked out the way it was supposed to." Steve hums.
"But seriously, respect our space, Steve." He nods at me. "We are a couple. We have sex, we kiss, we love each other."
"Listen, I know how...horny Charlie is. You don't have to explain." He laughs.
"That's my future wife you're talking about. So, watch it." I go to stand. It's time I help my girl.
"I really am sorry about everything, Buck. I see what she means to you. I know what you mean to her. But remember this isn't easy for me either. I know you two think I just up and went to be with Peggy and everything became easy. I still have complicated feelings towards her. We had a good five years. And I do regret sometimes what I did. I should have tried to live a life here. Not with her. It was always going to be you. But tried to be a present father to Maggie." I pat his shoulder. Holding a hand out to him to take his time watch. He doesn't hesitate. Just hands it over.
And right on cue Maggie comes running out to him. Showing him her work of art. "Do you like it? I thought I would make something extra pretty for Peggy...and you, too. Will I ever get to meet her?" She places her short legs on Steve's lap as he looks over the picture.
"One day, angel." He kisses her cheek and I walk into the house to help Charlie.
"Does that mean that I get to go back with you?" Her eyes are bright, wanting to see where her dad goes when he leaves.
"Absolutely not." My voice is firm. I narrow my eyes at Steve. He wants to say something, but knows that deep down not even Charlie would go for that. Maybe if we went with them, but never send her back with Steve.
"No, angel, I don't think that will be possible." He softly tells her. Charlie and him are excellent at not having arguments in front of Maggie. They feel she needs to live as happy a life as possible, especially since we all see what can really be going on in the world.
Upon entering I see her swaying her hips, lightly singing to the record that's playing. This isn't a dream. This is our life. I watch her place the yellow sponge cake in the oven, stirring around the browning chorizo. She turns to the island and catches me staring at her. "This would get done quicker if you helped." Her sweet smile that she makes only for me is evident. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"You're just so beautiful. Whose girl are you, doll?"
With a little giggle and quick walk over to me, she gives me her signature smile. "Yours. Only yours, James." She places her soft pink lips on mine. "You know you don't always have to confirm whose girl I am, right?"
"I like the way the words sound coming out of your pretty mouth." Bashfully she looks away from me. The pink in her cheeks get brighter. I place a hand under her chin so she looks up at me. "And I can't wait to have that pretty mouth wrapped around my cock later."
Her hand playfully smacks at my chest. "Holy shit, Bucky. You say the sweetest things and then turn it around to be the most..."
"Don't act like you don't like it." I pick her body up to mine, and her legs wrap around my waist. Her eyes light up as she looks down to me.
"Bucky, Steve and Maggie are just outside." Her giggles vibrate off the walls.
"I don't care. We're not doing anything with our clothes off. I'm just holding my girl." I lean up to her, softly kissing her lips.
"Well, if you don't want to put me down, walk me to the stove so the chorizo doesn't burn, Alpha." I let out a growl on her neck when I walk us over to the stove. She moves the meat around and looks back at me, pulling me into a deeper kiss. Teasing me with her tongue. Enraptured and love drunk in our moment, we're only focusing on one another.
"Ahem." Steve chokes out. We pull apart and look over to him. "This happen a lot?"
"Our space, Steve. Respect it." I tell him. My arms loosen up against Charlie's as she fully slides down.
"You get used to. They kiss a lot." Maggie answers walking through the door. "You missed our peanut butter mixing party. Maybe you can come on a Thursday one day.
Oddly the dining area is filled with laughter. Whatever Bucky talked with Steve about worked well, because there seems to be no awkwardness. Easy conversation. Maggie being extra animated telling her dad and bonus dad stories about what happened on the boat. Steve only quickly gives me a look when Maggie tells her that it was just her, the boys, and Sarah. One adult with three kids. "She's still alive, Steve." I cast over to him, and he quickly returns his attention to our daughter.
"Mommy and Aunt Sarah cheated during Uno. They even made me and Bucky lose." She fakes a pout at me, but quickly giggles.
"I tried to warn you, little pearl, but you just wanted to play dirty. I had to do the same." Forks continue to clink on the plates, while a round of yums and mmms fills the dining area.
"How come you never cooked this when I was here?" Steve asks, taking another large bite of enchilada.
"You never asked. And it wasn't in my archive of recipes. I saw this on a YouTube video. And Bucky and Maggie love it." Bucky looks over to me, eyes shining.
"Wait until you taste the cake. It's even better." Bucky informs Steve while still looking at me. "Still not sweeter than the taste of your pussy."
"Bucky!" I warn him with crazy eyes.
"Just warming you up. I know that sweet pussy of yours has got to be getting drenched and messy just for me." He smirks at me, placing a sweet kiss beside my mouth. When his words are anything but sweet.
"You better quit." Before he can respond back, casting his filthy words that are indeed getting me riled up. Maggie gasps beside Steve.
"Can we watch a movie with popcorn before I go to bed?" Maggie asks glancing over at the cake, her plate cleaned of all food.
"We can watch a movie and have a piece of cake, maybe even a swirl of whipped cream on top?" Bucky asks. He's so perfect and seamless with her. I can't wait to give him a child of his own. Seeing how much he loves Maggie, but being able to experience this from conception to birth and beyond. And during the next night of pregnancy, I won't be sad about Bucky being gone.
"Okay. That's fair Buckster." She giggles over looking at him.
Everyone loads their plates into the dishwasher, and I clean up the kitchen, washing everything. Looking over into the living room to the couch where my small daughter sits in between two large super soldiers. "Bucky, can we get a cat?" Maggie whispers over to the large man. He's such a sucker when it comes to her, I can't imagine he'll tell her no.
"Um...well...uh." He stutters. His strong hands rub on the back of his neck, turning slightly to look at me. I just smile and take out plates to cut up pieces of cake for everyone, making sure to swirl some whipped cream on Maggie's.
And then I hear it the sweetest, "Pwease, Buckster? I don't have anyone here to play with." Even this makes Steve laugh. He sees where this is going. Bucky without a doubt will crumble. She never asks Bucky for anything unreasonable. But she also knows how to use those bright blue eyes to play him.
"We'll have to talk to your mom, but I don't see why you couldn't get a cat." He fully looks at me, and I smile nodding my head.
"I said we, as a family, I'm just three. I'll need help taking care of it. I think I want a fluffy girl...maybe. I'll know when I see it."
"Okay, okay, little pearl. Quit trying to use your cute face to get what you want from Bucky. Do you know what movie you want to watch?" Carrying a tray with saucers of cake, of course Bucky and I are sharing, I set it on the coffee table, and sit on the other side of the couch. All four of us sitting on the couch. Like one big happy family.
"Can we watch Pinocchio? Did you two watch it when it first came out?" I can't stand this. That is the sweetest thing ever. Bucky and Steve look down at the little girl, both overcome with emotion as well.
"We did, angel. Bucky was distracted during the movie; I don't know if he remembers it." Steve cockily smiles over to Bucky. They're too competitive.
"And your dad left early, and got in a fight in the alley. I had to save his butt...again." Bucky's strong-arm wraps around me, the smell of his amber woody cologne swirls up my nose. His arm flexes behind me. He knows exactly what he's doing. Making me want him even more.
"It's not a contest guys." Maggie rolls her eyes taking a bite of cake and I stifle a giggle. "So, let's watch it then." Everyone settles back in the couch.
Steve takes a bite of the spongy cake, and rolls his eyes back. "This is amazing, Charlie."
"She's the best." Bucky tells him, taking a bite of the cake I'm holding up to him. "You're still my favorite dessert." His lips touch mine and I taste the sweet milks that the cake has been soaking in. Delicious. And I don't mean the lingering of the cake.
Most of the movie, Maggie sits paying attention. Steve and Bucky's voices hum along to the music, and my heart just feels full. "You staying the night? Or weekend?" I cast over to Steve.
"If you guys don't mind. I'd like to stay for a while. Need a break."
"Not at all. You've got the whole guest room."
I watch Maggie's head fall to side, hitting the side of Bucky's flesh arm a few times before her sweet sleepy voice looks up at Steve, "Daddy. Can you put me to bed and read me a story?"
"Of course, angel. I'm a bit tired myself. G'night, guys."
He cradles a now wide-awake Maggie up the stairs and closing the doors. The muffled lullaby from her music box that Bucky insisted she have whispers down the hall and stairs. I stand carrying the remaining dishes into the kitchen, loading them in the dishwasher and starting it. Bucky never leaves the couch.
Having him be so parental and sweet with Maggie, mixed in with his sexy and dark cologne, not to mention his raunchy words have driven me crazy. Steve will be upstairs for a while. I bite at my lip when I get the most devious idea. Almost the idea of getting caught, and Steve realizing that I am Bucky's girl, and he's my man makes me happier than it should.
I pull my dress up, removing my black lacy panties. And as if right on cue, I watch as Bucky's head leans back, "You almost done, doll? This couch is getting kind of lonely." Without answering I throw the panties over to him. They land right in his lap. He looks at them before picking them up and looking at me. "What's that for?" Already his eyes are dark with lust, his tongue licks along his lip before pulling the lower lip into his mouth. Pearly white teeth bite at his lip, and his finger beckons me to come to him. "No panties, huh? Why don't you get me ready? I'll take you right here, if you think we have time." His hand throws the panties down once I stand right in front of him.
"Oh, we'll have time. He usually falls asleep in there."
I kneel on the floor, using my hands to spread his thighs apart, humming at his already tightened pants. My fingers slide up his thick thighs as he releases a deep sigh, quickly I unlock his belt, and unbutton his pants. My eyes roll up to meet him while he lifts himself off the couch for me to inch his pants down his legs. Placing my hand at the base of his cock, I pull my body closer to him. Kissing his tip, and using my lips to spread around his precum. His body leans back further on the couch and I sink my mouth fully on his hardened and veiny cock. Humming once his tip touches the back of my throat.
I begin bobbing my head on his cock, hollowing my cheeks to fully sheath him in my mouth. Tears form at the corners of my eyes and I dribble out my mouth. Enjoying the taste of him, and the whispered moans that release from his petal pink lips. Just by his sounds alone I feel my core heat up. The insides of my thighs already become sticky as my slick leaks out.
"Doll, as much as I love this, sit on my lap. I'd rather cum in your pussy." His voice rumbles out as he whispers down to me. I slowly pull him out of my mouth, returning another kiss to his tip.
When I lean back up, I wipe away the mess I made around my mouth, "I would say she's yours." He squints his eyes at me, confused by my comment. "My pussy. I would say that she's yours."
I watch his mouth pull up a smirk. "Such a good and slutty girl that you are."
I stand, pulling up the dress a bit before hovering over him, holding onto to the base of his cock, placing it on my entrance, and fully sinking down over him. He hisses once I make contact with his lap. I fan the skirt of my dress out around us. Even if Steve should catch us, he won't be seeing much. "So so perfect for me, doll."
His strong fingers grab ahold of my hips, and I smile at him, placing a tender kiss on the edge of his before rolling my hips of top of him. His fingers grip tighter when I begin kissing along his jawline, marking up his neck. Claiming him as my own. His fingers bury deeper into my hips, leaving his own marks on my skin.
"That's right, honey, ride my cock. Fuck yourself on my cock." He jerks my head away from his neck, both his hands on the side of my face, thumbs grazing along my cheeks. "Or should I say he's your cock." I bite my lip as I smile at him, still rolling my hips, never breaking my rhythm. "Fucking hell, Charlie. Why are you so fucking perfect? Perfectly tight. Perfectly hot. Perfectly mine. My pussy." His lips connect to my neck.
"James, please." I whine to him. I'm close to a release, but I know he's nowhere near ready.
"What is it honey? You want your Alpha to help you cum?" His voice is so deep and gruff on my neck, I feel myself getting even hotter.
"Yes, Alpha. Help me cum." His left-hand slides down my body. Quickly groping my breasts before traveling further down, moving underneath the fabric of my dress, that's giving us coverage. And then I feel the cool metal gentle tickly my clit. He adds more pressure to the bundle of nerves, making tight circles. I feel the coil in my belly pulls tighter, panting out a breath before it snaps, I bite on his shoulder, muffling the moans and screams that threaten to come out.
"One more for me, doll. And later I'm fucking you with no clothes on." I speed up my rhythm desiring for his hot cum buried deep in my walls, and the look of his face when he comes undone under me. My favorite drug is Bucky's face when I make him cum.
I jolt awake, realizing I had fallen asleep while reading to Maggie. The book is still open, flat on my chest. Her head lays on my arm, and my body is contorted and halfway off the bed. She needs a bigger bed. I slide the tiny girl off my arm. Smiling down as I watch her sleep. I made a mistake. I should have never left Maggie. She needs me, even though Charlie doesn't anymore. I'm still conflicted on how I feel about Charlie. I put Peggy up on a pedestal, ignoring the woman I had in front of me. Making Peggy out to be the perfect woman that I built in my mind.
She's not perfect. We've definitely had our arguments. Most of them include Charlie and Maggie. While I wasn't faithful to Peggy, up until that point it was never about wanting to be with Charlie again. Even after Bucky left and I saw Charlie's light fade more and more, I never wanted her in that way. I wanted to comfort her, but never sexual, until I did. And that's when my feelings became conflicted. Bucky's right, jealousy isn't a good look for me. And Charlie never looked at me the way she did Bucky. And I never treated her the way that Bucky does.
Rolling my eyes, I stand to stretch, closing the music box that tinkles out a soft melody of Brahms Lullaby and it stops with a click of the lid. And then I hear them. I sigh, I was once the one that would get her going. Every time we had a free moment, she was ready to let me fuck her until she was cock drunk. I should stay in this bedroom and give them some privacy. This is their space. I should respect it. And yet, there's a part of me that can't. I'm curious. I haven't watched them fuck in so many years. And I feel myself harden thinking about that night. The night Bucky and I both destroyed her. Causing her to scream out. I have had a longing to repeat that night on multiple occasions.
Against my better judgement I quietly walk out of the bedroom, knowing Bucky may freak if he catches me, but they're fucking in the living room. I hear both of their breaths pant out. When I reach to the edge of the hallway, I look down into the living room, watching Charlie quickly riding on top of Bucky. His mouth linked to her neck, already red bruises painted on her skin, his too. They're drawing the line. They're in this together, and I'm not. Rolling my eyes at that thought and the fact that I'm getting even harder watching them.
A soft whimper leaks out of her throat, and his throat rumbles to her in return. "So good for me, doll. You were made just for me." Fuck. I watch her body react to his praises to her. My words were more demanding and possessive of her. His are sweeter, encouraging to her, and she fucking loves it.
She pushes his head to fall on the back of the couch. His eyes roll back as she speeds up her movements, almost making them deeper and rougher on top of him. I didn't allow her to ride me nearly enough. "Honey, I want to fuck you. Can I fuck you now?"
"P-please, James. I want you to fill me up." Her voice is so breathy and panting. I move further in the shadows while he lifts her on top of him to lay her flat on the couch. Her legs wrap tightly around his waist and he hits her hips with his own. Fucking her hard and fast into the couch. With each thrust her dress moves further and further up her body, fully exposing her hips and the reddened thumb print marks on them. Gripping her a little tight Buck.
"Can't wait to fuck a baby in you. See you swollen with my child. Experience all that with you." Turning away. I shouldn't look at this, but I can't deny how fucking hot it is, and how fucking hard I am. I begin palming my hardened cock through my pants. My own personal porn. Sickeningly it's my ex and best friend. Fucking on a couch that Charlie picked out with me.
"You'll get to fucking call me daddy then. Drives me crazy when you call him daddy." Oh really? Very rarely does Charlie refer to me as daddy, but typically it's when she's talking to our daughter.
"J-James. I'm so close." Her voice is so much more desperate. Begging for him to take her completely over the edge.
"Me, too. Can feel you squeeze me like a fucking vice." His words come out in grunts, and he ruts deeper and rougher into her cunt.
I watch her eyes roll in the back of her heads and she fully let's go, grasping tightly to his forearms. His lips crash hard against hers, surely leaving a bruise. And I watch his back stiffen and his movements slow down while he spurts deep in her. Even with their clothes on that was a satisfying experience. Hopefully they don't linger down there so I can take myself to the guest room to take care of myself.
"You're so perfect for me, doll. I love you so much Charlie...Barnes." Her sweet face smiles up at him. Eyes heavy and lidded, looking up at him with pure love and joy. In the beginning her eyes did shine at me like that. I was too stubborn and set on the past to realize it. In trying to protect myself from loving again, I hurt myself, and someone I truly cared about more.
"I love you, James. You're too perfect. Our life is so good." His arms pull up her dress. Fully exposing her dripping cunt as he watches his seed slowly seep out.
"Do we have to wait until we're married?" His eyes focus on hers.
"James?" She whispers. She knows what he's asking.
"I know. I just...it's not a guarantee even when you do try. I don't want to wait. I watch Maggie with Steve. And even though I know she loves me. I want that. I didn't get to watch you become a mom. Get to hold your hand while you pushed out your child. Be your coach, and anything that you needed. I didn't get to see her in the early stages. Scared, not knowing what you're doing. But I get to have the experience with a second child with you. I mean we don't have to try, just not be careful."
She huffs out a laugh. "When have you ever pulled out? Ever used a condom?" She looks at him. "Nothing has ever been careful with you. If it wasn't for my birth control, I'm sure at this point I would be pregnant."
"I'll make a deal with you. Ask me to marry you and let's do it. The day after you ask me, I'll go to the doctor that day or the next." So, they're making a deal to become parents.
"Really?" She nods at him.
"Is the ring here?"
"I'm not telling you that, brat." His hands wind closer behind her body. He already has a ring what is he waiting on? The day I bought the ring I couldn't wait, just asked her. Oh yeah, to ask her dad and Clint. "There's a few things I need to do first. Can you give me a week? And you still go to the doctor?" I watch his brows wiggle around looking at her. "We're not getting any younger."
"Yeah, I know old man." Charlie's hand smacks at him playfully.
"You're right. You're my perfect little goddess." His lips kiss along her skin.
"Sweet Jesus, Bucky. You been saving that one for a while, haven't you? And I think technically I would be a demigoddess."
"Same thing. Hey, I'm being serious though. I want to experience all the parts of life with you. Even if we have to babysit Steve." Babysit? Really? "It doesn't bother you, him being here?"
"No. He knows my boundaries with him." I do. She made that perfectly clear. With that being said after we had sex, is when she started to create those boundaries. Each visit I felt she had more. I did fuck the pain away. Snapping her back into reality and what she needed to do to get back on track. "Does it bother you?"
"No. So long as he respects our space. It's nice having him here. You know, when it's not awkward. I've missed the jerk, though."
"It's because you're both alpha males. He's threatened that Maggie loves you, and has taken so well to you." She starts to answer. "Even though he also likes knowing he can trust you with her. You'll protect her and guide her." She knows me too well. I have so many conflicting emotions with Bucky being in Maggie's life, and being in her life full time. "He's jealous the time you spend with her. I think he's really dealing with some things. Choosing to leave her seemed like the best option and the only option. He's realizing now how wrong he was." She reads me perfectly.
Now that my cock is finally softened, the almost too sweet of conversation between my two best friends, give you that affect. I guess it's okay for me to go downstairs. I softly walk back to Maggie's door, closing it softly, but loud enough that Bucky will hear, I walk down the hall and down the stairs. Bucky and Charlie look up at me as I walk down the stairs. Her thighs are pressed tightly together, no doubt her cunt is still leaking some of Bucky's cum. Her body is placed in between his thighs. One of his legs, on the floor, while the other is pressed against the back of the couch. Charlie's back leans up against his chest, and it doesn't take much to realize his pants are still opened and low on his hips.
Once I arrive to the lower floor, I spot her panties. A part of me wants to bring it to their attention, but a bigger part of me wants to sit on the couch with them for a bit. Watch them squirm as they try to keep their heated exchange from me. The fact that they have sex was literally said quite clearly earlier, but I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to be watching them and enjoying it, BUT...they don't need to know that. I'm fucking fucked. I highly doubt Bucky would ever show me the same courtesy I showed him back in Vienna, but I can dream. Not sure how I could possibly even bring it up to him without him wanting to kill me, and he's been too kind for allowing me to stay.
I walk over to the opposite side of the couch where they are. "Did you have a nice nap, Stevie?" Charlie's voice is too sweet. While she might not be in love with me, I know she loves me, cares about me, and wants me to be happy.
"I did. Pretty sure our daughter needs a bigger bed." I watch Bucky's eyes darken towards me. I shouldn't have said that. I see how much he loves and cares for Maggie. He considers her his own. I also see the love she has for him. "Sorry, Buck. I didn't mean anything by that." Charlie turns glancing back at him. Pulling his left arm in hers, wrapping her fingers tightly against his, gently kissing the back of his vibranium hand.
"On Monday, let's go to the doctor. Or maybe Bruce can help." She calls sweetly up at him.
I have to pretend I don't know what's going on. "Is there something wrong?" She calmly shakes her head at me.
"Charlie...you don't...we can discuss this later, okay?" His cybernetic fingers caress her gently. I watch their eyes carefully. They're talking in their head. Keeping things from me.
I know Charlie saw the effect on me when Steve said our daughter. That word...our...it sits in the back of my throat uncomfortably. No matter what, Maggie will always be his and Charlie's daughter. It hurts to think that no matter what I can't change that. I love that tiny girl. I want those experiences with Charlie. And I get angry at Steve because he just left her, I could never leave my child. Even if for some reason that Charlie and I went our separate ways, I would still remain in our children's lives.
Charlie's eyes look at me, pulling my metal arm, the arm that has disgusted me in the past, brings her so much joy. Her fingers gently caress the rare metal. Her lips touch softly against the metal. She treats it like it's the most delicate thing, when it's the most formidable part of my body. And then her sweet voice, "On Monday, let's go to the doctor. Or maybe Bruce can help." Slowly my eyes close. Moments earlier we set forth a plan. I feel Steve's words have made her want to jumpstart this. Not that I don't want to get things started sooner rather than later, I just don't want her to agree to something for the wrong reasons.
"Is there something wrong?" Steve asks her, genuine concern in his voice.
"Charlie...you don't...we can discuss this later, okay?" I tell her, returning her calming gesture of rubbing my cybernetic fingers against her. I love the fact that I have feeling in this arm. Her skin is so much more tender and softer on the pads of the smooth metal.
"James, what is one extra week? I did just agree to that."
"I know, but don't say things just because you see how Steve's words affect me."
"I saw they affect you. I also see how you're ready. I want to give that to you. I'm the one keeping us from this. I don't want to be the one that holds us back. There is nothing I wouldn't do for you Bucky. And like I said. What's one more week? Seven days is nothing. Maybe even Steve will still be here. He can help watch Maggie."
"You sure?" I know my eyes have got to be lighting up.
"You're going to be amazing. You already are. So, I'm more than sure, James." Her sweet hazel eyes look at me with a smile. My smile is so wide is almost hurts my cheek. Quickly I kiss on her still swollen lips. We're doing this. My girl and myself.
"You guys good?" Steve asks.
"Yep. Me and the dame are going to bed." I throw her over my shoulder carrying her upstairs. "I'm fucking you again in celebration. This isn't something we can do here is it?"
"No. It's not. It's an IUD, the doctor has to remove it."
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Finding Home Chapter 24
With everything unfolding recently, I made a choice. Albeit, I admit, it’s probably the wrong choice, it’s mine nonetheless.
I digress; ever since I told the team the truth about my past and what I was, nothing has changed. Not with them anyway.
With Bucky, though? It is another story.
His memories are back. Which means he remembers the pain, the heartache, the evil.
Sure, he remembers the good as well. The comfort and safety he felt when we were alone together.
He no longer has to hide the fact that he is sharing a bed with me. It is no secret that when we are together, the nightmares that had plagued him were nonexistent.
But that’s not the point.
Despite the feelings we share, can I stick around, knowing what I had caused him in the past?
I know he wants me to stay. But the choice isn’t his.
He is my light. He is my safety. He is my Soldier. He is my home.
Still, the choice is mine to make.
Bucky, Steve, Tony, and Natasha are all out on a mission. Everyone else is too enthralled in their activities to notice anything about mine. This is probably the only chance I will have, so I am taking it.
Sitting on my bed, notebook, and pen in hand, I start writing.
By the time you find this, I'll be gone. That's probably the last thing you'd want to hear - especially from me.
One of the most complex decisions I have ever had to make was choosing whether to walk away or stay with you, my Soldier.
I cannot escape the pain of our past, but I refuse to allow it to cloud your future.
This is a mission I must take on alone — a battle between my head and my heart that I can’t ask you to fight.
Though it won’t be home, it will serve as a memory of our love.
So please - promise me you'll leave well enough alone.
My Soldier, this is our goodbye.
I place the note on my pillow. Somewhere I know he will quickly find it.
There is no point in hiding it, no point in trying to avoid the truth.
I pack the few essentials that I need into a backpack and make my way out — stopping in the doorway just long enough to glance back into my room, letting out a heavy sigh before I continue on my path out of the Tower.
I know where I’ll go.
There is no reason to go too deep into hiding this time. If they find me, so be it. So I will go where I am comfortable.
I will go somewhere quiet, somewhere most won’t think to look.
Pushing the door of the little cottage open, I smile softly. Getting lost in the view.
Just as I remembered it.
The musky smell invading my senses snaps me out of my daze. I toss my bag onto the dusty chair in the living room and make my way throughout the small home to open windows.
Once everything is open, and the cool breeze is flowing through, I find my way to the kitchen.
Everything is still where I left it.
I walk back to my bag and find my wallet. Taking the cash, I leave my humble abode and go into town.
Picking up just the necessary items - some food for a couple of days, sponges, soap, hygiene items, etc. - I quickly pay and return to my solitude.
Ready to start anew, yet again.
When the four team members return home, they are exhausted.
Though the mission had gone well overall, it hadn’t been easy.
It was late at night. Natasha and Tony each go to their respective floors, while Steve and Bucky go off to theirs.
With a simple nod to his friend, Steve retires to his room for the night. Bucky makes a stop in his bedroom just long enough to shower.
Once he is clean and changed, he makes his way to Marena’s room. Only she isn’t there.
He sees the note on the top of the pillow, and his face drops.
Bucky crumples the note in one hand before letting out a furious scream and throwing his fist through the wall just beside the bed.
Hearing the yell and subsequent thud from the wall, Steve burst into the room.
“What’s the matter, Buck? What happened?” Quickly taking in the scene and realizing Marena is nowhere to be seen, his line of questioning shifts. “Where’s Petrova?”
“Gone,” Bucky growls.
“What do you mean, gone?”
Bucky throws the crumpled note at Steve, who catches it rather un-elegantly. He flattens it out as best he can and reads it over.
Glancing up, he notices that Bucky slumped over, sitting on the edge of her bed.
“She’s gone, Steve. She’s gone.”
Bucky spent the next week a complete mess.
He is wound up.
He is pissed off - that would probably be an understatement, but you get it - frustrated, determined.
Searching every memory he can think of to find some clue as to where Marena had run.
Steve can do nothing to calm Bucky’s nerves, so he does what he can to help find some information.
Tony is even trying to help in the search. All he knows is that he last saw her on surveillance at the JFK airport, and she got on an international flight. He couldn’t get anything else.
That left so many options open, though.
Did she get on another flight after that? Why did she leave in the first place?
“She’d go somewhere she knows. She’s not hiding, at least not like before, or she wouldn’t have left the note.”
Natasha sits at the bar in the kitchen, trying her best to help the situation.
“That doesn’t help Nat. She knows everywhere. She was on the run for how long?” Bucky snaps back.
“I mean, she’d go somewhere comfortable. Somewhere, she has a history. Somewhere quiet.” Despite wanting to smack Barnes for his outburst, she stays calm. Knowing he didn’t mean to give her attitude.
“But where?!” He slams his fists on the table in frustration.
“Buck. Relax. Getting all worked up like that isn’t going to help. Natasha is just trying to help you narrow it down.” Steve reasons.
Bucky lets out a heavy sigh. Setting his head in his hands, elbows propped up on the bar, he runs his fingers through his hair roughly.
“Maybe… maybe she left a clue?” Sam tries to offer.
“How? She left everything in that room, and I’ve read that damn note a thousand times.” Bucky mumbles, not bothering to lift his head.
“Can I take a look?” Nat offers.
“Be my guest.” Bucky sighs as he pushes the note toward her.
The room is silent for a good fifteen minutes. During which, Natasha reads - and re-reads, and re-re-reads, and well, you get it - the note, until she finally picks up on something.
Marena was nothing, if not subtle.
“Barnes?” She finally speaks up, breaking the silent tension that had clouded the room.
“What?” He groans.
“Though it won’t be home, it will serve as a memory of our love.” She reads.
“Yea? What about it?”
“Could that be her clue for you?” She sets the paper down. “I mean, I know she said for you to stay behind, live your life, all that crap. But it is Petrova. I think that line is for you, in a way the others aren’t. It’s her way of giving you a chance.”
Bucky squeezes his eyes shut, feeling the prick of the tears that are threatening to fall. He takes a deep breath as he thinks about what Nat has just said.
Maybe she was right. Perhaps it was a clue. But how? What could it mean? ‘It will serve as a memory of our love.’? What does that even -
Bucky shot up straight in his chair. Eyes wide as if he had just seen a ghost.
“What is it, Buck?” Steve looks at his friend, worried.
“I know where she is.”
Chapter 25 - Masterlist - Tag List
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chapter fourteen: i should’ve stayed in bed
part fifteen of sudden desire
synopsis: moving on.
warnings: angst, mentions of pregnancy & loss
word count: 2k
Marcus is smiling, warm and sweet as always, as he leans against the doorway of her bedroom.
She’s yet to notice he’s there. He’d let himself in a couple of minutes earlier, like he always does, expecting to see her on the couch or in the kitchen, like he always does, but she hadn’t been there. He’d almost thought she wasn’t home, until she’d heard the quiet humming coming from down the hallway.
The sweet sounds lead him to Coraline’s bedroom.
She sits at her dresser, makeup half-finished, a pale silk dress hanging from her wardrobe, ready to be slipped into. Her eyes are wide as she swipes mascara over her lashes, lost in heady concentration and Radiohead playing over the room’s speakers. She hums along, listening idly to the lyrics as she takes her time getting ready. Coraline sets down her mascara, slips her glasses onto her nose and picks up her tube of lipstick; just as she’s about to press the colour against her lips, puckering them almost comically into the mirror, Marcus knocks his foot against the doorframe, once, twice, three times, and laughs at the utterly ridiculous (and adorable, completely and undeniably adorable) faces she makes as she stares at her reflection in the mirror.
The tube of lipstick clatters against the vanity table and she whirls on him, brandishing her mascara in his direction like some kind of makeshift makeup sword. She yelps as she spins on her heels. She gasps once she sees it’s only him, relieved that she’s not about to be murdered in the comfort of her own home. “Marcus.” Her chest heaves as she catches her breath, her hand pressed firm over her heart. She slumps back down into the chair she’d leapt from.
He’s frustratingly handsome like this - in his work suit, dishevelled in the best possible way, his jacket tapered perfectly against the lines of his torso. Long legs stretch out before him, one leg tucked over the other. Marcus crosses his arms and leans back against the doorframe, raising an eyebrow in amusement as she glares at him over the wire rim of her glasses.
“Boo.” He hums.
He’s tired. She can tell in the thickness of his voice, the heavy lethargy of his limbs. Work and loss is taking its toll on him - just as it is on her - and, though it’s getting better now, it still weighs upon his shoulders when he wakes every morning.
“Huh, no shit, Marcus,” Coraline groans, pushing her glasses further up the bridge of her nose and turning back to the mirror with a scoff. She drops the makeshift mascara sword and picks back up her lipstick. “How long have you been standing there?” She smiles at him over her shoulder, warm and gentle, inviting him in.
He gives a coy shrug. “Long enough,” he poses, “I was just admiring the view.”.
Coraline’s lips quirk into a smirk as she scoffs and rolls her eyes. What a line. Marcus’ fond smile grows, affection radiating from the FBI Agent like he’s the sun. “I hope you saw something you liked,” she counters.
Marcus narrows his eyes a little. He scrubs a hand over the stubble on his jaw. “Hmm, well-”
“Asshole,” she gasps. She can’t help but mirror his amused grin, though, when he steps further into her bedroom, into the lamplight that bathes his golden skin in warmth. “What are you doing here?” Her words come tipped with a chuckle when he’s behind her - lingering, half-desperate and completely fucking exhausted - pushes her hair away from her shoulder and drops a kiss to the exposed part of her shoulder. “I thought you were working late?”
The intimacy of it all has become so familiar now that, despite their agreement coming to an end, the kisses seem part of their relationship, now. It’s comfortable. Coraline craves the warmth of his lips against her skin; she has a feeling he feels the same way, too.
“Rough day,” he murmurs against her skin, lips brushing softly over her. His hands grip at her hips, fingers dipping slightly beneath the thin material of her shirt. “Wanted to see you.” He pulls back to meet her gaze in the mirror. “Selfish, I know. You’re getting ready.”
“I don’t mind.” She hums. Coraline drops her head back against his shoulder, turning so her nose brushes the sharp line of his stubble-covered jaw. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Marcus huffs out a sigh. He buries his face into her warmth. “Not really.” He just can’t let her go. “Just-” he sighs. “-just wanted to hold you.”
It’s all familiar intimacy now. Teetering on the precipice, somewhere between unsure and knowing. Somewhere between friends and, maybe, more. Truthfully, they’d passed that line of friendship months ago - but they both knew that when they started whatever… this was - yet they’re stuck, suspended, in some kind of godforsaken limbo. It’s like they’re floating in space, trying to reach for each other, trying to ground themselves to anything to stop themselves from drifting further and further and further away.
She thinks they might already be half-gone, already.
But, for now, she’s content just to stay there, wrapped in his arms, feeling the rhythmic beat of his heart steady inside his chest. They won’t have children together. They won’t be together. They’ll move on, find someone new. And they’ll look back on those days when this felt like the centre of their universe fondly, as best friends do.
“I’m sorry, you’re getting ready.” His low voice is muffled by her shoulder.
“I still have time,” she insists. Coraline reaches back to card a hand through Marcus’ curls, the brush of her nails over his scalp drawing out some of the tension that knots every inch of his body.
He exhales a long breath and drops another kiss to her shoulder, as he pushes down the material of her Springsteen shirt just a little further. It’s far too big for her - about four sizes so - and rests just above her knees. It almost drowns her; he’s pretty sure it used to be her father’s, but he isn’t sure. It smells like her perfume and he’s far too intoxicated by the bright scent to care.
“Where are you going, that’s got you looking so beautiful?”
“Hmm-” Coraline seems to hesitate for a moment, rolling her tube of lipstick through her fingers. “I have a date.”
He should have told her when he had the chance.
But, damn, if she’s happy, then he’s happy.
Because it’s true what they say: if you love someone, you should set them free.
“Who’s the lucky guy?” He enquires, hoping that the stiffness in his voice doesn’t show. He doesn’t have any right to be jealous. They were never together.
She was never his.
Coraline shrugs. Her fingers carry on their ministrations across her scalp. “Just someone from work.” His eyes draw to hers in the mirror; his eyebrows raise in questioning - she’d practically sworn off dating co-workers after Scott and the problems that seemed to drag up for a long while afterwards - and she slumps back against him, her back curling into his chest. “I know, I know.” She rolls her eyes at herself. “But- but he’s sweet,” she insists.
Not as sweet as you, she thinks. He could never be you.
She finally drops her fingers from his curls and sweeps the lipstick over her lips; bright red and perfect on her. She puckers her lips again — the ridiculous gesture only serving to make him chuckle as he drops to sit on her bed — and her eyes draw to him as he groans, his shoulders slumping forward a little, before he straightens his back rigid again, as if nothing was wrong. Coraline narrows her eyes at him in the mirror.
“Marcus-” The call of his name draws his gaze to hers. “Are you okay?” She scowls at him in concern, green eyes alive with worry as his shoulders sag.
He smiles; it’s half-hearted and nowhere near as bright as his smile usually is, the smile that she welcomes every morning and craves every bad day. “I’m fine.” Marcus’ limbs are heavy. Like someone had tied weights to his wrists and his ankles, and he’s stuck lugging the burdens for the rest of his days. He’s completely exhausted, bled dry of energy, a heavy workload and the brutal sting of all their loss hitting him like a ten-ton truck, without warning.
Coraline narrows her eyes at him as he rubs at his jaw. He’d kept his facial hair at her request, so long ago that he thinks he’d miss the itchy thing if it were gone, now, but lately it’s been growing a little too unruly. “I can stay. I can reschedule-” She insists, but he’s shaking his head adamantly before she’s even finished her sentence.
Tell me not to go, she thinks.
Give me a reason to stay.
He won’t. He doesn’t feel the same way.
Coraline spins in her seat and tilts her head, worry tugging at her eyebrows. He catches her gaze as it lingers on his face, the face that gives away so much. “I’ll stay, Marcus.”
He knows she will. He’d do the same for her.
Don’t go, he thinks.
Let me give you a reason to stay.
She won’t. She doesn’t feel the same way.
“Don’t. Not for me.” He brushes her concern off.
“Marcus, I’ll stay, if you want me to.”
He almost asks her to, but that would be selfish.
“You have a date, sunshine.”
Coraline chuckles. “A date I’ve been holding off for months. He won’t mind if I tell him my best friend needs me.”
“Months, huh?” He smiles as much as he can bear to. “He must really like you.”
“Well-” Coraline’s teeth worry at her bottom lip and she reaches to scratch awkwardly at the back of her neck. “-his daughter likes me.” She smiles to herself; it’s bright, just for a moment, but she reins it in, as if she can’t be happy. “I think that helps,” she tells him.
Who is he to deny her that?
“Don’t let me keep you.” Marcus reaches across the small space between them and reaches for her hand; he dots a kiss to each of her knuckles, his thumb brushing once over the inside of her wrist, before he stands to leave. His knees protest as he stands, an uncomfortable ache spiking up his legs, but he ignores it, despite the pang of pain that flashes across his face.
If she stayed, he wouldn’t be good company. He’s sure he’ll fall asleep the moment his head hits the pillow.
Coraline stands along with him. She catches his wrist in hers. White-hot adoration shoots through him and it’s almost undeniable how much he loves her, right now. He’d scream it for all to hear if he could. “I’ll stay,” she insists again. She’s serious. All he has to do is ask. “Do you want me to stay?”
It hits them both like a punch in the gut. It’s far too abrupt, far too coarse. He clears his throat.
“I want you to go out and enjoy yourself.” Marcus kisses her forehead. Coraline chases his lips; she almost kisses him. Almost. She just lingers close to him for a moment, before drawing back, before remembering where the hell she is and that she can’t just lean up and kiss him whenever she wants because he’s not hers and it’s not fair and she can’t keep pretending that he’s in love with her when she’s sure that he isn’t. And when she herself isn’t even damn sure what the hell it is that cuts through the thick tension lingering in the space between them.
And Marcus can’t keep this façade going in his mind that they’re anything more than friends.
“And I want you to be happy.”
“You make me happy.”
Marcus sighs. He has to bite back his smile. He wishes that were true. That she means it the way he wants her to mean it. But she can’t.
Surely, she can’t.
“I mean, really happy.” The back of his fingers brush her cheeks. “Now, enjoy your date, sunshine.” He dips and kisses her nose. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
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✨Chapter 18 of Skyline will drop on Friday, June 25th at 2:30 EST. ✨
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