I'm back! Sorry to keep you guys waiting, it's just been a busy few weeks. I've got a whole list of excuses, but mainly, I've just been lazy.
It took me forever to figure out how this chapter was going to go. I'm happy with how it turned out though. More cuteness and a little bit of plot :) Yay!
Disclaimer: I still don't own Marvel. *sigh*
It was snowing. Brilliant, white flakes landed on the scope of the sniper rifle in his hands. The roof of the building he was laying on was quickly becoming covered. The cold didn't bother him though. Nothing did anymore.
In the next building over, the congressman walked into his line of sight. The man strode over and opened the window, reaching a hand out to catch a few of the flakes, completely unaware of the danger. It would soon be his demise; the mission required it.
Lining up the shot, the Winter Soldier took a deep breath, his finger tightening on the trigger and…
Bucky shot awake with a gasp, panting heavily. Both hands went to his hair, tugging slightly at the strands as if to assure himself that this was real. It was just a dream; a memory, to be exact. He was in his hotel room, not back with them.
After a few minutes his breathing became less erratic. He stood from the couch with a sigh, unwinding his throw blanket from around his feet. He wouldn't be able to go back to sleep tonight, that he was sure of.
He did a quick perimeter check before ducking into his bedroom to check on Steve. The little guy was curled up under the blankets with just his head peeking out, sound asleep. Seeing that, Bucky relaxed for the first time since waking up. He was struck by an idea, stepping softly out of the room. A few minutes later, he came back with an armful of blankets. He dropped them on the floor by the bed, spreading them out to make himself a nest of sorts. Satisfied, he laid down, content to close his eyes and listen to Steve's easy breathing.
Surprisingly, he must have managed to doze off, because the next thing he knew, a tiny hand was shaking him awake. "Bucky?"
"Yeah kiddo?" he answered groggily.
"Why are you on the floor?" Steve asked, head cocked to the side as though confused.
"Why are you awake?" Bucky countered, reaching out to tickle Steve's side. He didn't know what time it was, but it sure felt early.
Steve laughed, trying to twist away. "Ma always wakes me up early. She has to go to work and I get to go stay with the neighbors. Did I tell you about their cat?"
"You sure did, Squirt," Bucky said, getting up with a groan and moving into the kitchen. Steve followed along behind him, smiling brightly when Bucky picked him up and set him on the counter.
"Is cereal ok?" Bucky asked. He waited until Steve nodded a 'yes' before continuing. "I've got to pick up some more food today. We'll probably head to the store after breakfast. Sound like a plan?"
"Ok," Steve agreed. Bucky quickly got everything ready, pulling out a box of cheerios and the rest of a carton of milk. He fixed a bowl for each of them, Steve's a lot smaller than his, and brought them both to the table before setting Steve down from the counter. The two of them ate breakfast in comfortable silence.
When they finished, Bucky sent Steve off to get ready while he washed the dishes and got ready himself. After taking a shower and changing clothes, he stepped out of the bedroom to find Steve on the couch, struggling to put his shoes on. With a quiet laugh, he knelt down to help.
"You're putting it on the wrong foot," Bucky said, taking the shoe and slipping it on the correct foot. He did the same with the other shoe, then laced them up tight. "There you go. That should be better."
"Thank you," Steve smiled, swinging his feet happily.
"Are you ready to go?" Bucky asked, standing up.
"Yeap!" Steve exclaimed, jumping off the couch and heading towards the door.
Bucky frowned; Steve had forgotten one little detail. "Woah, hang on there kiddo," he called, motioning for Steve to follow him. Slightly confused, Steve followed him into the bathroom, where Bucky grabbed a comb and quickly fixed the child's hair into some semblance of order. He laughed at the scandalized expression on Steve's face. "Ya can't go around looking like a porcupine now, can ya? Now c'mon, let's go."
Together they headed out of the building. If he remembered right, there was a supermarket a couple of blocks over. As soon as they stepped out on the street, a little hand found his metal one and held on. Not that he could blame the little guy, he wasn't much for crowded places either. Thankfully they had left at a time where there wasn't much foot traffic. It only took them a few minutes to reach the store.
Steve's eyes widened as they approached. "The future is fancy," he commented, staring at the automatic sliding doors with awe.
Bucky bit back a laugh; he knew what he meant, they had surprised him too when he first saw them. "It sure is, pal."
Once inside, Bucky grabbed a cart and set Steve in the child seat. He expected a protest at least, but Steve stayed quiet, still looking around with wide eyes. Well, he wasn't going to complain; arguing with Steve never went well, no matter how old he was. Bucky pushed them towards the grocery aisle, and off they went.
An hour later found them in the checkout line. Bucky had managed to pick up everything he needed and then some. On top of food, he had grabbed some clothes for Steve- who knew how long he was going to be like this- and a few toys for the kid to play with. Steve had picked out a teddy bear too: a Black Widow teddy bear to be exact, complete with catsuit and red hair that Bucky hadn't been able to keep him from seeing. Bucky also grabbed a sketchbook and a pack of crayons, figuring Steve would like them.
The cashier quickly rang up their items and told them their total. Bucky felt a moment of satisfaction as he handed the cash over- stolen Hydra funds were good for something at least. The cashier took the money and smiled at Steve, handing him the teddy bear back. The child smiled brightly as he took it. "What do you say, Stevie?" Bucky prompted.
"Thank you," Steve said, giving the lady another blinding smile before burying his face in the plush fur.
"He's so cute," She remarked to Bucky, counting out the change quickly.
"Yeah, he's a real heartbreaker," Bucky replied with a smirk.
In no time at all they were ready to go. He lifted Steve out of the buggy, setting him on the ground and grabbing the grocery bags. Thankfully there weren't that many. Shifting them into his left hand, he held his right out to Steve who took it without hesitation. They stepped out of the supermarket and headed back towards the hotel.
"You guys, I've got something," Clint called. He was monitoring surveillance camera footage near the area where they had seen Barnes with Steve. They hadn't been able to catch him on camera again that day, but Clint was willing to bet that he would show up eventually. He got Tony to hack into the video feeds from random buildings in the area in hopes of finding them.
"What've you got, Tweetie?" Tony asked, sauntering across the room. He peered over Clint's shoulder at the paused video footage.
"Who does that look like?" the archer asked smugly, pointing at the holographic screen. The image showed the outside of a supermarket. A few people were walking out of the door, joining the crowd on the sidewalk. Clint was pointing to two figures that had just exited: a tall man wearing a dark jacket, black gloves, and a black ball cap carrying grocery bags and holding the hand of a tiny blond-haired child.
"That's them alright," Natasha chimed in over Tony's shoulder. Tony jumped at the unexpected voice. "Don't do that!"
Clint snickered, earning him a glare from Tony.
"At least we know they're still in Brooklyn," Natasha said. "That'll make them much easier to track down."
"Wanna split up and see if we can find them?" Clint proposed. "If they're going grocery shopping, it's a good guess that Barnes has stable living quarters nearby. That should make him and Steve pretty easy to find."
"And what would you do if you found him?" Tony argued. "This is the Winter Soldier we're talking about here. You know, deadly assassin spy, even scarier than Natasha?" That earned him a death glare from said red-haired spy. "You're seriously wanting to go one-on-one with him?"
"If one of us finds him we call for backup. No one-on-one anything," Clint assured.
Bruce, who had just walked into the room, piped up, "Maybe I should sit this one out. Hulk doesn't do good with stealth missions." They all heard the real meaning behind his words: he didn't want to risk a Hulk-out in the middle of such a crowded area.
"Whatever you say, Doc." Clint replied. "So, sound like a plan?" he asked the others, turning to look each of them in the eye.
Natasha nodded curtly, already walking off to gather her weapons. Tony sighed dramatically, "Fine."
Ta-da! Many thanks to everyone that's reviewed, faved, and followed! You guys make my day :)
Just a warning, it may be a while between updates for the next month. I'm starting truck driving school next week, so I'm not going to have a whole lot of free time. I'll see what I can do though :) Thanks again guys!