Written for itsbuckysworld for their #itsbuckysworld1kWritingchallenge on Tumblr
prompt:"Would you believe me if I said I'm a time traveller?"
The wind rushed icy cold through Bucky's hair and his stomach swooped under him as the zip-line brought him over the train. His hands were frozen, his face was numb, and he had wished they weren't on this mission at least five times already. He sent up a prayer and let go, dropping onto the speeding train. He regained his feet, pushed his rifle behind his back so he wouldn't have bruises on his thighs, and followed Steve. He glanced back once to make sure Gabe had made it on to the train too; they shared a nod and Bucky turned to descend the ladder. Once in the train car, Bucky looked around, taking in details.
Large artillery cases and ammunition boxes were stacked in the centre and along both sides of the car. They might give good cover but that just made him more nervous. He exhaled slowly and tapped his finger on the trigger guard in half-time with his racing heartbeat. He didn't like this. Something felt wrong.
There was a weird noise behind him and he jerked around, ready to fire, but it wasn't one of the HYDRA blasters charging up. It was a woman in odd clothes standing there looking frazzled. "What the hell?" he whispered. It was enough to get Steve's attention too and he turned around.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?" He questioned from behind Bucky.
She looked up and smiled—and despite the confusing circumstances and her odd appearance, Bucky thought she was pretty—"Oh, good, right train. Would you believe me if I said I was a time traveller?" Her accent wasn't quite Peggy's or Monty's but it was similar.
"No," Bucky answered flatly though he'd seen crazier things. HYDRA's alien weapons. Steve's transformation. He'd prayed just a few moments ago, who's to say God didn't send them a time-travelling woman?
She smiled wider as if his answer amused her. "That's all right, Sergeant Barnes, but I'm here to keep something horrible from happening and we don't really have time to chat about it."
Bucky felt even more anxious after hearing her say his name like that. Who the hell was this dame?
"How can we trust you?" Steve asked, he'd drawn his pistol and turned his body a little like he'd heard something from the car behind him.
She blinked at him like she hadn't expected his wariness; it made him think that maybe she didn't know what it was like to be paranoid about everyone and everything, war did that to people. She said instead, "You could do this all day, couldn't you, Captain Rogers?" The phrase Bucky'd heard Steve say on a regular basis sounded odd coming from her lips but then her eyes were widening and she shouted, "Down!"
Bucky'd been at war long enough that hearing the shouted command was enough to drop him to his knees and duck his head instinctively. She pointed something—a stick from the look of it—at the doorway where Steve had been standing and a bright red light flashed from it, striking the heavily armoured HYDRA agent in the chest and dropping him back several feet. His weapon discharged at the ceiling and a hole was ripped through the metal like a tin can; cold wind flooded the train car. The soldier didn't get back up.
"My name is Agent Hermione Granger and I'm with SHIELD, it's what SSR becomes in the future. I'm anti-HYDRA. From the report I read you two got separated and then one of you fell from the train because of that wanker," she said pointing at the dead soldier. "That's not going to happen this time around. Now move!" She pushed past Bucky and Steve both and moved into the next train car. The door shut behind her and with a flick of her stick, she reopened it.
Bucky was still unsure and he turned to look at Steve, his Captain, for his orders. Steve was nodding. "For now," he said with that stern look he tended to get when he was focused. Bucky repeated the gesture, readjusted his grip on his rifle and moved to follow when he heard the door behind him open.
He turned and fired at the two HYDRA soldiers that came in and Steve was right there with him, knocking the artillery cases together to flush the second soldier out. When they were both dead, he and Steve shared a look and started after the woman out-of-time. If she was telling the truth and one of them had fallen out of this train into the icy hell-scape beyond, he was glad she was there and stopping it.
The nauseated feeling of dread had faded. He shivered once and his teeth rattled as he walked under the hole ripped into the top of the train car and beyond it. He hated being cold.
* . * . *
They'd captured Zola, no one had fallen from the train, and the team had met them at the rendezvous as planned. They'd questioned the strangely-clad woman but she'd clammed up and just said she was an ally. Dernier had stolen a dress for her along the way and now they were back in England enjoying a round of drinks at a pub. The woman had asked to speak with Carter and he hadn't seen her since.
Bucky wasn't sure how he felt about that.
He was curious as hell to know more about her and even to know who she travelled through time to save. He wanted to think she did it to save Steve but he just couldn't believe that Steve falling to his death into that snowy ravine was the way he'd go out. That left him with haunting thoughts about his own mortality. Would death feel cheated now and come looking for him in other ways? He'd already somehow cheated death by not dying on that table in Krieschberg, but...
A chorus of whistles and hollers went up that dragged Bucky out of his thoughts. He blinked and looked in the direction the fellas were looking in to see Carter and the new dame standing in the doorway. Carter was in that red dress again and she still filled it out to a T but what caught his eye was how good Granger looked cleaned up. Someone had got her a navy blue dress with a flared skirt and she was wearing nice stockings. His feet felt the urge to dance. He hadn't felt like dancing since he shipped out.
He stood and swallowed the sudden nerves that overcame him when he saw that she was heading directly his way, brown eyes locked on his like she wanted to eat him alive. She stepped close and he could see the tension in her shoulders. Up close, her smouldering look belied her discomfort. She wasn't nearly the confident dame who killed HYDRA agents and rushed into a hail of bullets like she was indestructible.
"May I speak with you privately?" she asked.
Dum Dum, true to his name, made an off-colour joke about what else she could offer him in private but Bucky ignored him and offered his arm to her. He led her down the hall towards the head. It was the most private place he could think to bring her without taking her outside into the cold.
"What do you need, doll?"
She glanced around and then whispered, "My way home isn't working."
He still wasn't sure if he believed her about the time travel but if it had made her this anxious he could at least listen and offer whatever help he could. "What do you need me to do? I don't exactly know—"
"I need a cover," she said, and suddenly he had an armful of woman as she pressed herself close and kissed him. He might have thought of himself as a gentleman but if a dame was kissing him he was going to kiss back. His hands came around her to hold her even closer. Her lips were rough from biting but she tasted sweet like caramel. Bucky wasn't sure how long they kissed but when she broke away he was panting and his fingers were dug into her waist and he had a feeling she had been close enough to notice how much he wasn't actually a gentleman.
He licked his lips and blinked down at her, unwilling to let go now that he'd felt her in his arms. "Is your cover being my best girl, then? Because I gotta tell you—"
She shut him up with another kiss and pushed at his shoulders. He stepped back and realised she'd manoeuvred him against the wall. She rolled her hips against him and he couldn't help the groan that slipped out. He pulled away enough to talk, "Hey, whoa, slow down. I'm not that kinda guy. I've got a reputation to keep, even if we are halfway across the world in a war." The look she gave him was one of frustration and a little confusion. "Who do you need the cover for? Because those guys back there? They know I don't got a girl back home, or hell, here for that matter. How long do you need a cover? And what does that have to do with kissing me like you are—not that I'm complaining."
She frowned and only moved back from him a little. "I didn't expect to stay for an extended amount of time. I only meant to rescue..." she paused and glanced away for a moment before looking him in the eye again, "...one of you and then go back home. But something's happened and my time turner doesn't work any more. It's as if..." her eyes narrowed in thought. "I was being reckless, I'm so far out of time, I didn't expect a single death to have changed the future all that much but if it did, if somehow your being alive now is such a departure..." she trailed off and the look she gave him was full of the same sort of fear that he'd seen in the faces of his friends and team-mates. It was mixed with despair. He'd caught her slip—it was his death she'd prevented. "It's not working because I don't have a future to go back to," she said it calmly but he could feel her starting to tremble under his hands, the revelation too much for her to contain. "I'm well and truly stuck in the past." She dropped her head forward to rest against his chest. "Awful things happen to witches who meddle with time, Hermione," she scolded herself. "I don't just need a cover, I need an entire life."
He rubbed her back to offer her as much reassurance as he could. "I don't know where you're coming from but it's not... so bad here. I mean, the war is bad, yeah, but back home we got Coca-Cola and Nathan's hot dogs and there's some good times to be had at Coney Island and Rockaway Beach. I'll take you dancing if you want."
She murmured into the fabric of his uniform, "I don't know how to dance."
"I'll teach you; s'not that hard."
"I don't know how to behave in the 1940s."
"Well, let's start by sharing a drink and talking with the Howlies. You said you worked with the SSR, right? Maybe talk to Carter? Maybe you can be her sister or cousin or something." She nodded but it was awkward because her forehead was still pressed against his chest. "And no, umm, sleeping around, unless you want the wrong sort of reputation."
"Not even with you?" she asked, pulling back and looking up at him.
"Not even with me."
She squinted. "The history books pegged you wrong, then."
"How so?" he asked, curious as to what was said about him after he died.
"They said you dated a lot of girls."
"I have dated a lot of girls. Took them dancing, maybe out to dinner. To Coney Island. Doesn't mean I've gone all the way with all that many. Going out with girls like that woulda killed my reputation. You just don't do that sort of thing."
"And if I want to?" she asked, a hint of rebellion in her voice. "It's good stress relief," she tacked on.
"You get married."
"Oh. That's shit."
He laughed. "Rule number three, that sort of language is not ladylike."
She rolled her eyes and stepped back completely. He grabbed her hand to lead her back out to the others. "I think I hate the 1940s already."
"Tough." He paused, then met her pretty brown gaze again. "Thanks, by the way. I hope I'm worth it."
She nodded and gave him a sad little smile. "You're welcome. I'm sure you will be."