Howard Stark

1917-1991

Marie Stark

1920-1991

Survived by their son Tony Stark. Died in a car wreck March, 15, 1991. Rest in peace.

A man, not very tall nor could he be called short, knelt in front of the engraved granite. His features were masked by a tangled mess of dark brown hair and a black ball cap pulled down over his eyes. The sound of metal scraping against stone sounded as one hand emerged from the two pockets inside his hoodie and traced the chiseled words. The sun glinted off of the metal hand whirling through the last few letters. Sighing, the man sat down, staring at the gravestone before closing his eyes.

March 9, 1991

The strange feeling of rushing to the surface after diving deep into a pond startled him. What was a pond? What was diving? Why could he remember the sensation, but not the objects? He was cold, freezing to put it plainly. He was in something. Somewhere in the fog of his mind the word "container" appeared. Stiffly, he touched the small, window, that was coated in something called...ice. A sudden whoosh of air filled the container and, voices, blurred together in a confusing raucous. Things were touching him, pulling him out of the container putting something uncomfortable on his face. What did his face look like? Compliantly, he followed the Things, which he now remembered as people. Where were they taking him? His question was answered as he was pulled into a dark room, light with many blinking lights on...screens. A chair. Yes it was a chair, sat in the middle of the room underneath…equipment. Why were the people putting him in the chair? He would have to listen.

"Do you have the file uploaded, Dr. Gemp?" a person asked.

"Yes; all we have to do is put it in his memory," an odd looking person answered.

He looked down; hmm…his arm was made out of the same…material…as the chair. Was this normal? The other people did not have this. Was he different? Did he want to be different? He wasn't sure

"Alright," the Dr. Gemp grunted, "lean back."

A forceful hand was making him lay back and somewhere in his mind the word "obey" popped out. He willingly lay down and accepted a large chunk of metal in his mouth...mouth, the thing he was supposed to eat with. Was he supposed to eat this metal? No, it was too hard. He tried to move, put more metal things strapped around his body. A buzzing made his eyes glance curiously up and suddenly everything was starting to pour in. It hurt! He cried out as information poured into his aching mind. He saw images of an older man and woman, a young man, details about their lives, more pictures, and something that seemed to drip in big, red letters that caught his interest. The words read, "Mission Kill Mission Kill" over and over, before he realized. The two people in the pictures, the man and woman, he was supposed kill them. But what was killing? More images popped into his head along with their words: guns, knives, blood, strike, heart, neck, vulnerable, kick, strangle, shoot, head, strategy. Knowledge flowed into his brain. He was supposed to kill these two people, his mission.

The chair suddenly released him, and struggling a little, he sat up. People slipped strange clothing over his head, armor they called it. His metal arm whirled as he tested its strength.

"Let him out," a man wearing the insignia of a high ranking officer.

He couldn't think about anything else; just the mission, his targets. The door opened and he stepped out into the…sunlight.

Present

The man opened his eyes; his breath came in ragged gasps as he backed away from the tombstone. But, he seemed to be drawn back, as if he was trying to remember something with the help of the stone.

March 15, 1991

Howard was laughing as he drove down the deserted highway. Marie was glaring good-naturedly at him. It was their last night drive because their son, Tony, had forbade them from going out after the sun was down. Of course they both thought it was ridiculous; they weren't too old to drive at night! But their son was persistent, so this was their last drive. The mirth faded from Howard's face as he braked hard.

"Honey what's wrong?" Marie screeched.

"Ghosts," he whispered.

The lights illuminated a figure standing in the middle of the road. Hair spilled in matted waves down his head and his head was lifted, glaring at the lights. He had a gun. Marie's face went pale and she grasped desperately at her husband as he got out of the car and started walking towards the stranger.

"Is that you, Bucky?" Howard's old voice cracked.

Bucky? Why did the target call him Bucky? His name was the Winter Soldier. Confused, he stood there a moment.

"It's me! Howard," the target said, "I thought you were dead, Bucky."

He snorted and raise the gun. A woman screamed from the car. The shot rang out, echoing into the night. The target collapsed, blood spilling from his chest.

"Bucky," the target breathed.

The target was persistent, but he had a mission. He aimed the gun at the target's head and shot again. The screaming from the car caught his attention next. The woman was sobbing and an odd look was in her eyes. Fear, the word came unrequested to his mind. Grunting he raised the gun and double tapped. The target's hysterics were silenced. He turned to leave; still, something nagged him in the back of his mind. He went back to the corpse of his target and fingered the bloodied hair. White brain matter leaked out of the wound and onto the ground pooling at his feet. He knew this man...

Suddenly something hit him in the leg. Looking down he saw a blue needle pushing something green into his leg. Everything got blurred and he fell over into the warmth of unconsciousness. Before he blacked out he saw a soldier with a tranquilizer gun standing over him.

"Get him out of here."

Present

The man was sobbing by the tombstone, banging an angry fist into the dirt. Tired of observing, Tony approached, sipping noisily at his milkshake.

Bucky gasped; he had killed them! They hadn't died in a car wreck! He had shot Howard without even blinking. Memories flooded back. Then slurping noises broke through the horrific images. Glancing angrily at the newcomer, Bucky wiped his eyes and stood up, folding his metal hand into a fist. The man stepped back raising his hands, one holding a cup with a straw sticking up out of it.

"Whoa, calm it down," Tony said defensively.

Stark wished that he had brought at least part of his suit, but who needed a suit when he was visiting a cemetery? The metal arm reminded him of...the file that he had caught Natasha with. The guy was one of Cap's companions from WW2 and his father had known the guy as well.

"So you knew my parents," Tony said carefully.

"I killed them," Bucky breathed.

Tony stopped, he wanted to say something but for once he kept his mouth shut. Bucky was hurting; he could see it plainly.

"You know," Tony started, "I know an old friend of yours. Maybe you would like to talk to him. I know he would enjoy it."

Bucky paused, inhaling the fresh air. "Where is he?"

"Back at the Avengers compound," Stark informed.

"Steve?" Bucky asked hopefully.

"Yeah, the Cap has been looking for you a long time," Tony said.

Bucky nodded and allowed the man to motion him back to the sports car that sat in the narrow cemetery road. He looked back at the tombstone.

"I'm sorry," Bucky whispered.

He slid into the low seat and Tony started the car and sped off.