It was late when the rain finally subsided; not a star dared to shine through the pitch-black clouds. Only a couple street lights cast a dim, yellowy glow on the saturated sidewalk. The air was dense with mist and there was a nervous feel about the lonely, deserted city street. He was unbearably drawn to the figure in black walking away.
Steve rushed after him. "Bucky!" he pleaded, "Buck, please! We can work this out!" His voice echoed away and was swallowed into the stillness.
The obscure figure only quickened his pace as he ignored his friend, the words falling on deaf ears. Steve saw the glint of a blade as Bucky stared at his wrist, his hand shaking.
"Bucky, don't!" begged the man, his throat tightening. He grabbed cloaked arm in desperation. "Bucky-"
The shadow whipped around, startling his follower. Steve could feel the venomous anger seeping out of him as in one blurred movement he ran the knife across Steve's bare arm and thrust it into his side. Steve let out a cry of pain, crumpling to his knees as Bucky pulled the blade out and turned away, leaving without a backward glance.
Steve woke up in a cold sweat, the nightmare sending chills down his spine and injecting a stinging pain into his already-worn mind. It wasn't the first nightmare he'd had by a long shot, but the first intense one he'd had in quite a while.
Slowly, the soldier sat up and surveyed his surroundings, reminding himself the scene wasn't real. It couldn't be. Could it? No, it didn't make sense. He glanced over at Bucky, who was wrapped in his sleeping bag a few feet away, having a seemingly peaceful night's rest. He's fine. I'm fine. It was just an illogical, stupid dream. But it was so real...No. He shook his head. No. It didn't happen. He frowned at his trembling hand and ran his hand through his hair. A weak smile passed over Steve's face. Well, at least one of us will get a decent amount of sleep tonight. That's good. He deserves it.
Making barely a sound, Steve rose, grabbed his pencil and sketchbook, and walked a little ways, sitting on the floor in a square of moonlight that filtered from a window in the dusty rafters of the abandoned warehouse. He let out a sigh and loosened the tension in his shoulders. The veteran wouldn't be able to sleep again until the vivid image had faded enough to no longer disturb him so much. And drawing...drawing usually calmed him down, cleared his mind, stopped the shaking. He was fine. He just had to think of happy memories.
He began to sketch their old town of Brooklyn, and was just finishing some detail work when his strokes slowed and his vision began to dim until….
"Steve." Bucky nudged his friend's arm with his foot. "It's past ten."
The blonde looked up groggily from his curled up position on the cement floor. "Hmm…?" he grunted, rubbing his eyes.
"Get up, punk."
"You're a jerk for waking me up so early. I mean, among other reasons," he joked, sitting up and running his hand through his shaggy hair. Haven't had time for a haircut in awhile…or a shave, for that matter, he thought, rubbing his stubbly chin. Bucky could pull off the caveman look pretty well. Him? Not so much.
"Nightmares again?" asked Bucky, picking up the open sketchbook that had slid a little ways away.
"Yeah," breathed Steve, the memory of the dream etching itself in his mind. "Yeah." He wasn't gonna tell Buck about this one. Not for awhile, at least. He could hardly think about it himself - why bother him with another burden?
"This is pretty good," remarked Bucky, examining the scene Steve had sketched the previous night.
"Except the bank was on the opposite side of the street."
"What? No it wasn't," replied Steve, looking up at his friend with a questioning smile.
"I'm pretty sure it was, actually," argued Bucky, scratching his head.
"I distinctly remember it being on your left if you were walking home from school. 'Cause it was next door to Smith's Grocery and Mrs. Eddison would always come out with too many bags and I'd have to help her carry them to her Volkswagen."
Bucky threw his hands up, chuckling. "Okay, okay! I believe you."
Steve made a face at him. "You knew it all along, didn't you? You just wanted to see how I'd remember in case you'd find something to tease me about."
"Now, why would I do a thing like that?" asked Bucky innocently, handing the sketchbook back to Steve.
"For payback," muttered the soldier. A mischievous gleam entered his eye. "You're still caught up in me mentioning Annie and Grace to Nat, aren't you-"
"Oh, shut up," growled Bucky with an annoyed pout.
"I was right," chimed Steve with a grin.
Bucky began walking away. "Don't rub it in," he mumbled. "I was nice and responsible this morning, unlike someone, and I made breakfast."
Steve raised his eyebrows with a dubious expression. "You made breakfast?"
"Well, did you expect me to hire a chef? Yes, I made breakfast."
"Where in the world did you get all this stuff?" asked Steve, raising his eyebrows at the eggs and toast.
"Sam flew by this morning with groceries."
"And I suppose he provided a stove, too."
Bucky rolled his eyes. "I'm not as much of an idiot as you think. You know the whole thing about how angling sunlight with convex glass creates heat?"
"Well it turns out vibranium speeds up the process. Your shield is a pretty nifty frying pan. I just flipped it over for the toast."
"You did what with my shield?!" Steve's eyes darted around the room for his priceless tool.
"Steve. It's vibranium. It's gonna be fine," assured the former assassin, sitting cross-legged and munching his toast. "It's not as if it hasn't been through worse. Besides, I even shined it up for ya afterwards. You're welcome."
The soldier let out an annoyed snort and proceeded to dig into breakfast. "You better ask next time," he grumbled.
"Steve, you're acting like it's cracked or something. Since when do you not share?"
The vet didn't exactly have an answer. After a few minutes of forking the eggs he cleared his throat and asked, "Is Sam dropping by anytime soon, or…?"
"He said he'd try to make it around dusk. I told him to bring burgers."
Steve smirked. "Now James, I hope you asked politely," he drawled, unable to resist a tease.
"I did, mother," reiterated Bucky, shaking his head at his buddy. "And I hope you remembered your unspoken commitment to clean up the dishes."