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An Unempty Nest

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The Asset stands in the Smithsonian Museum and stares at a wall full of pictures. He recognizes the man central to all the pictures. He shifts, letting his face reflect off the glass. It's the same face, younger then, with happiness sometimes and sorrow others. Emotions. Things he once had and may have again.

He has no purpose here. He has no purpose at all. His handlers are dead. His mission failed. But the name spoken by his target still rings in his head. Bucky Barnes. James Buchanan Barnes, as the wall tells him. Born March 10, 1917, almost a century ago. He knows he is not a century old physically. His time on ice slowed his aging, the same as his last target, Captain America. Steve.

His flesh fingers spasm, twitching toward the glass. There are pictures there showing Bucky and Steve with their arms tossed over each other's shoulders, grinning at the camera. They were friends. They fought in the war together, first with the 107th and then as the Howling Commandos. Bucky had been presumed dead. So had Steve, and yet here they are in this strange modern day.

He doesn't remember the pictures. He has no association with what their contents hold or the inscriptions detailing his former life. All of that has been wiped away, replaced by the Asset.

But he is no longer the Asset. He is James Barnes. He is Bucky. He will remember and there is only one logical place to start.

He needs to talk to Steve Rogers. Luckily, Bucky knows just where to find him.