So, um, yeah. I don't know, I wanted to practice writing and I got really into it. I guess some of these will be long, others short, a few with some dialogue, a few with less.
Some are gonna be long, others are short, and I have no beta.
Also, I'm not stingy with ideas being used in stories (if they're even worth being mentioned in someone else's work). Go ahead, all I ask is some credit.
Penny Parker is really flexible. Like, almost boneless.
It starts when she and Natasha are scheduled to train in the wrestling ring. Natasha is known for her spy service in the Soviet Union and later in SHIELD. She's trained for decades, honed her skills through missions and assignments that left her hands bloody. But, this kid…
She's just a tiny teenager, god dammit Tony, and she's good. Steve said she held up an airplane boarding bridge with her bare hands. Penny has an advantage of using her inhuman strength, and she doesn't use it. Natasha would call her an idiot if she wasn't losing.
Natasha is on the offensive, as their training seminar listed, and she hasn't gained an inch of ground. Penny's defense is so solid, so simple, and she can't land her hits. The girl is only avoiding her strikes, not a single punch has landed in the ten minutes she's been in the ring.
Crimson strands are falling into her face now, sticking to her forehead with perspiration. It's been a long time since she's had to work up a sweat sparring with someone other than Steve. Penny is quick and agile, the teen's legs carrying her swiftly. She hardly touches the ground, floating from one point to another. Her arms periodically wrap around Natasha teasingly to maneuver herself around the redhead's body.
To be honest, it's pissing her off.
The shorts Penny wears are as short as her own, but makes her thin legs look stronger than usual. The tank clings to her chest tight and Natasha is almost caught off guard when a foot hooks around her calf. Her flip is followed by a kick to Penny's chin that was smoothly dodged to the side.
Rather than pulling back, Natasha starts a full frontal assault every which way she can. It's frustrating, her focused glare on Penny's carefree expression gains a hardness she hasn't used in years. A fifteen years old kid is besting her, the best of the Red Room's Widows, in a hand-to-hand combat simulation. To add insult to injury, the girl still has that open, trusting look on her face from when they started!
Her fists pick up speed and Natasha does something she's trained herself not to do; throws her whole weight into the punch. As Penny whirls to situate herself behind Natasha, she finds a muscled leg curled like an iron bar around her waist. She is lifted by Natasha's leg and thrown to the ground as the older woman shoves her face into the mat. A knee goes between Penny's shoulder blades and Natasha grunts with the effort of keeping the teen down. Her own serum enhances her physical attributes, though it isn't to the extent of the Super Soldiers.
It's surprising, really, when the tiny slip of a girl twirls them both and bends her back in half to get the knee off. Natasha's attention is drawn to the bow of her spine, the ach in her neck, and the swell of her chest as Natasha is thrown from the ring and down the hallway.
"Friday, is Tony available?"
"That depends on your definition of 'available', Captain."
"The door is locked, so I would assume he isn't, if I didn't know he was showing off to his intern."
"Then you already know the answer, Captain."
This has been his problem since returning to the compound. For all that both sides of the Avengers had merged together, it seems that Friday, Tony's new AI, holds a grudge. He can't really blame her for taking her creator's side.
Doesn't mean her personality makes it any easier to get along with her.
And don't get him started on Tony. The man has been ignoring him like the plague from the moment they crossed US borders. No matter how many times Steve has approached, Tony weasels his way out. There's a tension hanging in the air every time they're in the same room and it's getting old.
They need to talk. Now.
"Please, Friday. We need to have a discussion, it's affecting the whole Team. If you could-"
"Sir is busy at the moment and would appreciate you coming back at a later date."
Steve sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose in thought. He'll need help if he wants to get through to Tony.
Clint types quickly, "You know I won't be able to hold Friday off for long, right? If Tony gets pissed and doesn't unlock the door, there's no way out?"
Clint lets out a breath as he hacks into Friday, unlocking the doors to the whole compound for the few seconds Steve would need.
"You owe me."
Steve closes the door silently. The lab is huge as always, with more projects littered on every available surface than he remembered. Tony's robots are dawdling about the room, the one with the arm playing an impressive game of tennis with the wall. The suits set up for repair are lined on tables, as though awaiting surgery.
It's almost like before.
Only, Tony's intern is situated on the worktable. She's missing her top. Her hair is down from the impeccable ponytail she always wears.
And Tony is sticking his tongue down her throat.
There are many things that have surprised Steve; going from shrimp to super soldier, punching Hitler twice, losing his best friend, getting frozen in the Arctic, waking up in a different era than the one he left, beating up aliens of all things. Every battle he's won, every horrid thing he's ever encountered, could not have prepared him for what he was experiencing.
Eyes straying to Tony's groping hand on the intern's thigh, he's hit with the realization that this was a kid. Penny was a nice girl, barely sixteen, with amazing brains and better opportunities ahead of her. She's young enough to be Tony's daughter. And Steve wants to scream at him, hit him, fucking pulverize him for touching such a sweet girl.
It's difficult to move, to not watch. How slender hands grip Tony's belt, how two bodies exhibit such closeness, how she draws him in with legs around his waist. It's especially difficult to ignore the sounds being emitted throughout the lab. It's an addicting sound he wants to surround himself in, bury and devour all at once. He wants, desperately, to prove to Tony that he can make her squeak louder, prove that he is in the right for once.
He doesn't know why he runs out.
Maybe it's the shit he's given Tony, maybe it's the fact that Steve wants to rip him off the girl to steal her lips, or maybe it's the reason he has a cold shower to take.
He doesn't look either of them in the face for the next week.
"I know you,"
He knows the man in the blue, the blond one that looks taller than he should. It's hard to pinpoint from where, but he's seen those blue eyes before. He doesn't know if it's from before, or if he was a previous mission.
But the Asset has never failed a mission.
It's irritating, not knowing for sure, and leads to him asking his Handler. If the Asset is to ever have questions, he should ask the Handler currently assigned. They knew what to do.
Of course, it results in his punishment. It happens occasionally (from what the Asset can remember). A wrong question, a wrong response, an incorrect course of action taken. It'll get him thrown back into the chair, the one that straps him down and sends volts of electricity straight to his brain.
For all HYDRA has needed his skills, not having them anymore would end in his termination.
Perhaps his skills will be fried from his head alongside whatever memories he may have had.
"I walked with you once upon a dream."
The Asset is nothing more than a weapon, a tool, a fist which HYDRA uses to defeat their enemies and shapes the modern era. He does not have time to sleep between wipes, missions, and cryo.
It's cold, numbing, agonizing. It's the closest he's gotten to what people call sleep since his first assignment. He does not dream of what people dream, because he is not a person. He is the Soldat, the Asset, he does not have the rights of humans to gain luxuries.
There are few times he remembers dreaming, though he does not remember what happened. Simple feelings that give what others would describe to be nostalgia, sadness, fear. A few in particular, sometime during the early twenty-first century, gave him the feeling of peace.
If something like him could feel something as pure as that.
For lack of better term, he refers to the brief flashes of laying in green fields, white daisies braided into hair, and a sky full of laughter as a peaceful memory that refuses to leave.
His wipes fail to rid him of the dream, leaving the Asset to a haunting echo of giggles and sunlight in the dark cryo tank.
He closes his eyes again and dreams.
"I know you,"
His vision is hazy with streams of light, his head light with the clear air, his back grounded to the earth.
Strands of mahogany surround his face, a smattering of freckles dot full cheeks, and glossy pink lips reveal a pearly white grin. Impossibly long lashes frame eyes of glittering topaz.
He's lying on the ground in a uniform not fit for HYDRA, dark blue and missing his vibranium arm. His hair, usually long and lank with lack of upkeep is now cut short and styled. Even his skin, so smooth and clean, a healthy peaches-and-cream that is startling to see.
The body sprawled atop his is light and willowy, fitting nicely against his own. Clothed in a cotton dress with ribbons and lace, the girl is older than he recalls. Her face has slimmed out from the baby fat, her limbs have toned muscle and a flat stomach, and her hair has grown dark and wavy.
There are things that haven't changed from however long he's waited. Her dimples are still there, her nose still button-like, and her upper lip is still slightly fuller than the bottom. That air of innocence has been maintained in the sparkle of her bejeweled irises, in the lack of wrinkles, in the sweet naiveté of youth.
It is here, in the furthest corner of his shared mind, that James "Bucky" Barnes resides. He stays with his summer girl in a fantasy world, bathing in imagined sun. He fights no wars, no battles, he is no one's tool.
"That gleam in your eyes is so familiar gleam."
The literal girl of his dreams.
She hasn't given him a name, never in the years she's been here. Though, she knows his. Calls to him, gestures him to follow, beckons him close.
The girl is sunshine and daisies, weaving a flower into the tiny braid she fashions in his hair. The softness in her face gives it a warm glow, something in her eyes making his chest feel gooey like no other. Nimble fingers greet him to the land of unconsciousness gently, caressing his cheek as that smile of hers loosens to something bordering carefree.
He quirks his lips at her antics and spends whatever time he can soaking in her goodness, basking in the weight lifting slightly. James is human again, reborn from the frozen wasteland into a sunny spring brought on by the force of summer approaching.
Being here is more than he deserves. What he's done, the horrible crimes he's committed. He will never deserve to rest in a place so pure and clean. His filthy presence permeates the air, tainting his field with clouds. James does not deserve this reprieve. The atrocities he's done, he will never deserve her.
His eyes catch hers one last time before the tears well and she's gone in a whirlwind of blizzards.
"And I know it's true,"
The Soldat is ready to comply once again. His mind carefully blank, his eyes calculatingly narrowed, his hands grasping emptily for a phantom.
"That visions are seldom all they seem."
It's strange, saving the man that says things the shrimp of a boy says. The blond man is exactly the same, he is not the mission – just a punk getting into shit.
He can't stay.
It's not that he doesn't want to, days after SHIELD's fall. He'll be hunted by both his mission- Steve and whatever remains of HYDRA. He'll be expected things he can't deliver to both sides.
He doesn't even know who he is anymore.
"But if I know you,"
Bucharest isn't the only place he's been to since leaving DC. Detouring north, he made his way across Canada into Alaska before taking a plane out to Russia. From there, James has slithered his way passed borders into Europe in the span of hardly a month. The skills he's accumulated over the decades are useful, apparently.
He is fine living in the rundown apartment with leaking pipes and broken circuits. He revels in the oddness that accompanies freedom. He can do what he wants, go where he wants, and eat what he wants. One thing HYDRA refused was any food that didn't fit in a tube.
He hides efficiently with a simple cap and gloves, blending in as he'd been trained to do. He's figuring himself out, a tiny pocket book listing things he likes, dislikes (because there aren't very many things he could truly hate left in the world), and wants to try some day. It's annotated with notes – like his notebook in classes, next to that one girl with skirts too – anyway, it's got whatever he can think of.
James is what he goes by, at least in his head. He's done fighting as the Winter Soldier, that much is for sure. He can't change the past and what blood is on his hands. He also knows that he can't go by Bucky, he isn't the flirtatious man that exuded confidence and chivalry. He's too jagged now, raw and exposed to be either. A sort-of-not-really happy medium was met with his birth name.
The plums he buys are good, but not worth the bullshit he finds at the newspaper stand. His profile, reported countries away in Berlin for a terrorist attack. Panic sets in and James runs to pack.
The entire time he's been on the run, he hasn't once had a dream. His disappointment is often pushed aside with thoughts of work at the garage. Adding this, he won't be getting opportunity to sort it out anytime soon.
There's no time in his life to dream while he's a fugitive.
"I'll know what you'll do."
Steve and that guy in the bird costume pin his metal arm in a vice. They plan before heading out to meet some woman Steve's got the hots for, the punk. Despite his irritation with Wilson, he's pretty proud of the small-taller man (damn that serum and god bless it). They're met up with Hawkeye, the Maximoff mutant, and a burglar with an upgrade before the airport begins evacuating.
It's weird, he decides. So much has happened so fast in contrast to how his lifestyle has been the past year.
"You'll love me at once,"
Her giggle tinkles and warmth floods his chest. His heart stutters and he can feel the crease in his brow ease. The defensive stance drops at once and he's searching wildly for the brown waves, the lithe body, and the smile that makes it all worth it.
She's in red spandex, a hood over her head that lets her long tresses spill passed her shoulders. The goggles obscure her precious eyes from him, but her lower face is exposed. Dimples, freckles, they're all there. A thousand-watt smile on her lips as she grips Stevie's shield while coming out of her crouch.
The reality of it all hits him like a brick wall, a truck, a god damn train. She's real, she's here, and she's cheekily waving at them like she does when she wants to grate on his nerves. It makes him wanna grab her up and run far from the warring sides of the Avengers teams, keep her from the battle that'll no doubt ensue.
"Where you been, doll?" James can't help but call out from his relaxed state. He's smiling for the first time in a long-ass time.
She whips around to face him, becoming that lanky teen he knows has contradicting clumsiness and grace. Her hands grow lax at the sight of and the overgrown frisbee clatters to the ground. Her squeal is adorable as she – what the fuck.
The devices on her wrists shoot a sort of web that she pulls, slingshotting herself straight at him. The others go for their weapons until they realize the bundle of teen weaving herself around him isn't attempting to kill him.
"Jamesy! You're here, you're really here!" she whisper-yells in his ear. The resounding chuckle he gives her makes her shiver against his frame and there's nothing wrong with the world.
Only that they gotta figure this HYDRA bullshit out first.
Then again, what's new?
"The way you did once upon a dream."
And she does.
"Don't you DARE tell Happy!"
"I'm more worried about May chopping my head off, kid."
"What is this stuff?"
Let's rewind a bit. This starts with Tony deciding it's a great idea to take off without explicitly telling Happy to watch Penny 24/7 after the whole airport fight. It's not her fault Happy had to keep tabs on Jim. It's also not her fault that Vision doesn't know that teens are slippery.
Her ribs may be a little bruised, but everything else is working fine. They're healing, anyways.
Albeit a little slower since she hasn't eaten since the night before.
So, the story goes a little like this: Penny waits for Happy and Vision to go do something, sneaks off to the airport again (assisting a few Berliners along the way) before hitching a ride on one of those planes where the pilot kinda takes a nap as auto-pilot takes its course.
Only, it's her steering. From the outside.
Hey, she didn't say it was her best plan!
Penny use her webs to steer the two wings to Siberia, Karen sorta-maybe hacking Friday to find Mr. Stark's location with the GPS in his suit. The pilot was pissed, and maybe a little scared, when they landed not-so-smoothly on a snowbank close to the entrance of the Bad Guy's Evil Lair™. It's got two jets out front and an open door.
Gosh, is she the only one that cares about how cold it is? Close the damn door on your way in and out, it's common courtesy!
She's got the night vision on her goggles turned up and her silent steps are nimble, careful of anything lurking around a corner. She sees that guy in the black cat suit (no, really, it's legit a suit fashioned after some jungle cat) creep the door leading into the large room.
Soft inhale, aim, shoot.
He's stuck to the door, a grunt of surprise cut off by the ropes of web covering his face. He dangles a foot above the ground, silently struggling to get out of her trap.
From what she can still gather beyond the Ant-Guy growing into Super-Ant, this was the dude wanting the guy with the metal arm in custody, which is where the Captain comes in with defending him. Mr. Stark wanted them to come back to sign the Accords, though that probably won't happen for whatever Team Cap's reasoning was.
Honestly, it was really stupid to refuse signing like that. Half of the countries of the world were pushing after what happened in Sokovia, half of the governments, almost all of them from the developed world. You can't just say no because it didn't feel fair. Everyone has to obey the law of the land, even heroes. The Accords could have been revised easily, though. There was no need to outright refuse them.
She makes her way to a small room where another signature is pinging. A man in his thirties, thickly accented, is making a monologue about his revenge against the Avengers for something they tried their hardest to prevent.
Like, dude, really?
People piss her off sometimes.
Penny takes aim, though more care as – though he's got that villain vibe – he's clearly still a civilian and not some combat-trained super-power-infused… guy? She has no idea where that train of thought was going.
Her web-shooter sticks him to the wall next to the window, a strangled yell falling out. He wiggles futilely against his binds, which is fine with her. He needs a time-out for a while.
The room quakes, alerting to the missile shot at the window. Through it, she catches a glimpse of the huge room and the red and gold suit she's been looking for.
She puts on her best innocent smile, ready to sweet talk her ass out of the situation. Hopefully there's been enough practice with her aunt and uncle?
"Hiya, Mr. Stark! Great weather we got here, right? So, look, I know you-" she's cut off because as much as she's ready to explain, the three men just look confused.
Their lips are moving, clearly – Mr. Stark's face turning an interesting shade of red while the Captain seems to be panicking, the guy with the metal arm staying stoic.
Oh, Mr. Stark is motioning again. Penny puts her arms up in a 'what was that?' gesture.
"Who are-" Mr. Evil starts off.
"Shush!" Her web shooter stops him from saying another thing, "Evil dudes after evil plots in evil, creepy lairs wait their turn. How the hell do I work this thing?"
Turns out there's a button you push to speak into the dinosaur of a microphone. Whelp.
"Sooo, hey there?" Penny says (asks).
Mr. Stark is going purple now and Penny wonders if he'll turn out like the Hulk. He starts waving rapidly, his mouth gaping larger with silent words that she knows should be increasing in volume.
She holds a finger up to interrupt before he gets arthritis or something (that's what people get when they get old right?).
"What the hell…?" Penny is fiddling with some knobs and she can suddenly hear what's going on in the other room.
"Young lady, you get your ass out here, NOW!"
"What do you mean young? Tony-"
"She can hear us now." The metal arm guy stops them.
They stop and turn to her.
Penny tries it again, "Hi, so…" she trails off as they glare, "Nice weather, eh?"
Tony sighs, "I can't believe you hijacked a plane. From the outside."
"Commandeered, would be a better term." She puts a hand on her hip, the goggles dangling from her fingers. She looks to the ground, "What do we do with him?"
His name is Helmut Zemo and he apparently lost his family in Sokovia as the country fell. He understands what he did was wrong – so fucking wrong – but kept going anyway. He ruined people's lives, property, and reputations for the sake of revenge. He knew the consequences and he didn't plan to pay the price, judging by the gun in his waistband.
Penny dragged him around and into the big room, grabbing the cat dude as well.
That's another thing.
That guy is the King of Wakanda, and the new(?) resident hero?warrior? on the Team. Also, the Cap is kinda freaking out about her being so young (she's not a kid, thank you very much).
The dude with the metal arm is also Bucky Barnes, like, hero from the '40s, Howling Commandoes, supposedly-dead BFF of the Cap. Yeah, that Bucky.
This has been a really weird trip.
Dammit, she still has to do her homework.