- Death-Minor Character
- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
Since all it took to recruit the men that would become the Howling Commandoes was a bar tab it was easier than he had anticipated. All of them had been offered the same chance that Bucky had to leave and not a one had even contemplated taking it.
“See? I told you. They’re all idiots.”
“How about you then? You ready to follow Captain America into the jaws of death?”
Hell, no. That little guy from Brooklyn who was too dumb not to run away from a fight. I’m keeping an eye on him. But you’re keeping the outfit, right?”
“You know what? It’s kind of growing on me.”
Bucky leaned forward and rested his forehead against Steve’s, their breaths falling into sync as they simply existed for a few moments. Then the music in the bar stopped and they both looked up. Agent Carter was wearing a beautiful deep red dress and her appearance was apparently enough to stop all the men dead, slowly though the part picked back up.
“Captain, Staff Sergeant.”
“Howard has some equipment for you to try. Tomorrow morning?”
“I see your top squad is prepping for duty.”
Bucky could not resist the opportunity to twit the English girl he knew had a crush on his Guide.
“You don’t like music?”
“I do, actually. I might even, when this is all over, go dancing.”
“Then what are we waiting for?”
“The right partner… 0800, Captain.”
“Yes, ma’am. We’ll be there.”
Bucky mimed being shot in the heart as she turned away then smiled at Steve.
“She likes you.”
“I’m your Guide.”
“You weren’t before… and that’s not how the heart works.”
“And she is beautiful.”
Steve blushed, then leaned in and kissed his Sentinel, tasting the whisky he had been nursing all night. The troop behind whooped and saluted with beer, pleased to have a bonded duo at their head. Dum Dum was also pleased that there was a Sergeant above him in the pecking order, he had no desire to try and rein in a man who had taken a factory single-handed. Bucky gave them all a single finger in salute and pulled back.
“C’mon. We still need to sleep sometimes.”
The next morning Steve arrived at the SSR headquarters ahead of his Sentinel who had gone to make peace with the English Agent. He stopped at a receptionist in uniform and decided to ask.
“Excuse me. I’m looking for Mr. Stark.”
“He’s in with Colonel Phillips. Of course you’re welcome to wait…I read about what you did.”
She showed him a paper with his face on the front, ‘Captain America saves the day’ emblazoned across as a banner headline. It was more like a prop from one of the movies than a real thing.
“Oh! The…yeah! Well, that’s you know? Just doin’ what needed to be done.”
“Sounded like more than that. You saved nearly four hundred men.”
“Really, it’s not a big deal… and”
“Tell that to their wives.”
Steve put his hands up in protest as she got ever nearer to him.
“Uh…I don’t think they were all married…. and”
“You’re a hero.”
“Well, that…you know? That…that depends on the definition of it really.”
She grabbed at his tie and pulled him in until they were almost nose to nose. Steve had no idea what to do.
“The women of America, they owe you their thanks. And uh…seeing as they’re not here.”
She landed one on him then and he waved his hands, wondering how to get her off without using his strength in a dangerous way.
“Let him go, now.”
He had not been so glad to hear Bucky’s voice since the prison camp, it was more like hearing it coming down an alley when he was being turned into paste.
“Who’re you to tell me what to do?”
“Staff Sergeant Sentinel Barnes, let go of my Guide.”
She backed off then, releasing Steve’s tie and letting him scoot over behind his furious Sentinel.
“It’s alright Captain. Staff Sergeant Barnes and I understand exactly what happened here.”
Agent Carter’s voice could have frozen water and the Private did not like it.
She was a saucy thing and Peggy’s raised eyebrow promised some retribution in the near future. Perhaps some time in the basement vaults would cool her unwanted ardour.
“If you’d like to go ahead Captain, Staff Sergeant. I believe I need to have a conversation with this soldier.”
They got while the going was good.
Inside Starks laboratory it seemed more like Aladdin’s cave of wonders than an engineering base of operations. The inventor was covered in soot and grease stains, running hither and thither between ideas and partially built projects. Once he realised the pair were there he came over, smiling broadly and clasping each of their hands in turn.
“Glad to see you both… you especially Captain considering the last time I saw you was when you jumped out the plane!”
“We’ve spoken about that.”
“I’m sure you have Staff Sergeant Barnes.”
“Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane without any training….”
Bucky reached out and grabbed Steve’s shoulder just thinking about it.
“This is why officers have Sergeants… to keep them from being totally bone headed.”
“So you’ve said…. Repeatedly.”
Steve decided to take the opportunity to ask a question that had been on his mind.
“What is fondue?”
“Fondue is just cheese and bread, my friend.”
“Yeah, , I concentrate on work. Which at the moment is about making sure you and your men do not get killed.”
He gestured to some fabric that was lying out on a bench.
“Carbon polymer… Should withstand your average German bayonet. Although Hydra’s not going to attack you with a pocket knife.”
Then he gestured to the bent and battered remnants of Steve’s shield.
“ I hear you’re uh… kinda attached?”
“It’s handier than you might think.”
“I took the liberty of coming up with some options… have a look… also…. Staff Sergeant…”
“Call me James.”
“Howard… I hear you’re quite the sniper, even for a Sentinel…”
“I do alright.”
He pulled at Bucky’s arm and dragged him over to another bench.
“New sights…. Didn’t play with the rifle much as I know you snipers are loyal as hell so I thought one of these might help.”
He left Bucky looking through them and headed back to the Guide.
“What about this one?”
“No! No! That’s just a prototype.”
“What’s it made of?”
“Vibranium. Stronger than steel and about a third of the weight. It’s completely vibration absorbent.”
“How come it’s not standard issue?”
“That’s the rarest metal on earth. What you’re holding there? That’s all we’ve got.”
“Amazing… Agent Carter what do you think?”
She picked up a small revolver and shot at him, watching coolly as the shield deflected the bullets away from the slightly panicked Guide.
“Yes. I think it works.”
She put the weapon back and calmly headed over to Bucky, clearly more upset about Steve’s apparent cheating than his partner was.
“I had some ideas about the uniform.”
“Whatever you want pal.”
Peggy reached Bucky and stood next to him, looking over the sights with a professional eye.
“Glad that shield worked.”
“Never in question…. I trust Howard to do several things… hit on me at least twice a week, hit on every other woman in his vicinity at a much higher rate, drink too much scotch and build things that work.”
“His flying car in New York was a bit of a miss.”
“I heard about that… it did fly though.”
“For a few seconds.”
“Still…. he’s a lot better with weaponry.”
Bucky gestured over the sights and sighed.
“Any one of these is vastly better than the ones I’ve used so far. Two are even set for Sentinel sight.”
“We can see further and with more detail but it can become blurred after a certain distance or if you don’t have your Guide with you. Also, if you are piggybacking your senses you often aren’t as precise as you otherwise might be.”
“If you concentrate you can send a sense along another one, for example, send your hearing along with your sight to extend your range or listen in to whispered and hidden conversations.”
“Did you do that with Zola?”
“Didn’t need to, he treated me like a part of his laboratory furniture and he has a habit of talking to himself. Did extend a bit to try and see past the door but…”
“You were in pain, no-one could expect you to do more than the amazing amount you managed.”
“An Alpha would have been able to… but they killed the one Alpha they took before they used me.”
“He was a good man… even if I didn’t know his name I’ll remember him for the rest of my life.”
She smiled sadly and folded her arms. It was easy to touch Steve, to offer him physical comfort in a way his Sentinel seemed to reject without words being spoken. She would have wondered at the difference but she had been taught that it was common with Sentinels and Guides, one having an aura that invited you in whilst the other pushed you away. Only Guides were welcomed freely into a Sentinel’s orbit, they could decide they wanted you close but it was a privilege and not a right.
“He really likes you.”
“You’re his Sentinel!”
“I’m also not blind Agent Carter.”
“I told you to call me Peggy.”
“Then you should be calling me James… and him punk.”