When the quinjet landed, Tony and Pepper were standing there waiting for them. The kid (for lack of a better name) had taken to Bucky during the flight and refused to leave his side. She was clinging to his leg when he walked out into the hanger.
"Not a word Stark." Bucky said when he saw Tony's amused expression.
"Wasn't gonna say anything Freezer Burn. Just didn't know you had a soft spot for kids is all. Do they teach that at assassin school?" Tony teased.
Before Bucky could reply, Nat's walked down from the jet saying," I don't know. Did they teach you to be an asshole at MIT?"
"Touche Romanoff. Anyway we need to debrief, and while we do that I figure we can get the little tyke down to the lab to run the necessary tests. My beautiful fiancee is willing to take her down for you, unless you wanna take her yourself." Tony said as he glanced at Bucky.
"Okay thanks uuuuuhhh floor 3 right?" Steve asked distractedly while watching Bucky pick the toddler up and put her on his shoulders with a soft smile.
" Floor 4, Cap." Tony said with a knowing look. "Pepper will give you the run down on what we think the base was doing on the way to the lab."
On the way to the lab, Pepper filled them in. "So we looked into the base and it looks like the weapons was only part of it. Their main purpose was genetic experimentation. Which means that the girl..." Pepper trailed off.
"She's definitely an experiment then. What exactly were they doing to her?" Steve questioned. Pepper gave a hesitant glance and replied.
"Steve, I don't think you understand. She was experimented on. She IS the experiment. They created her there."
Steve and Bucky both froze (haha) and turned to look at Pepper. Created there? She didn't have a childhood? Trapped and raised in a HYDRA base. No wonder she was called Three.
They got to the lab where Bruce and Dr. Helen Cho were already waiting for the girl. They handed her off and left after quickly peeking over their shoulders a couple of times. After the debriefing, Pepper walked back down to the lab with them.
The three of them got to the right floor and walked the rest of the way to the lab. When the doors slide open with the scan of a card, Bruce and Dr.Cho were standing there with the girl.
"Steve! James! Good we have some stuff to talk about."
"What is it? Is there something wrong with her? Is she alright?" Bucky questioned. The kid was laying perfectly still on a table surrounded by beeping machines and an IV bag. She didn't seem startled, which unsettled Steve. A kid would normally be scared or at least a little uneasy around all of this medical equipment. Then he reminded himself. She's not a normal child.
"Everything is fine, it's just. It's kinda weird.", Helen explained, "She has some...interesting DNA."
Steve gave Bucky another glance and saw that he was equally confused. "What do you mean by interesting?", Bucky asked.
"Well, it seems that she has super soldier DNA, mixed with a little bit of normal human. It appears that she has the DNA of not one, but two super soldiers in her system. They were combined to try and create the 'perfect soldier'." Bruce told them.
This just confused Steve more. "What do you mean 'combined DNA of two super soldiers'? The only ones we know of are me and Bucky. And what about the normal human part?", Steve grilled. He was very lost.
Helen and Bruce gave each other a look. They had thought that Steve and Bucky would put two and two together and neither really wanted to explain all the ins and outs. Finally, Helen began,"She was made with the DNA of one Steven Grant Rogers and James Buchanan Barnes. You were right about you and Bucky being the only ones. That's what Dr.Banner and I thought too, so we did the DNA test, and technically she is your daughter. The normal human part of her DNA comes from Captain Rogers ailments from before the serum. She has your astigmatism, though it's not bad enough that she needs glasses yet. She also received your anemia. She seems to be perfectly healthy in any other way, however we are still waiting for some test results. With the super soldier in her, she does also have super strength and theoretically, enhanced endurance. However, if the asthma test comes back positive, this will affect the endurance unless she becomes an athlete, which is proven to help with asthma. Anyway, getting back on track, she does also have an insanely good immune system, and if need be when she gets older, we will have to use our special Steve and Peter drugs on her because she also has a super human metabolism-"
Bucky cut Cho's ramble off,"Wait,sorry, but ma'am can you go back to the part where she's our daughter?"
"She...uh. She's biologically related to both of you. You are both her fathers on a biological level." Bruce stepped in, looking rather uncomfortable, unsure of how they would react.
Steve and Bucky just. Stood there. Slack jawed, eyes wide. Just standing there, unsure of how to react. They had talked about adopting kids one day, but having a child thrust upon them, let alone a child that was related to both of them, was not something they had talked about. They expected that when they were ready, they would have a while to prepare. To buy things. To read parenting books. Eventually one of them said,"Um. How... how is that possible? Last I checked, you needed two different parts for that." Steve still isn't sure who said it.
"Honestly, we aren't sure. HYDRA must have had some new technology in order to do this."
"Okay. Um. Okay. Can we talk for a minute, Steve?"
"Uh. Yeah. Sure."
Bucky and Steve walked to the corner of the lab. "Are we gonna take her, Stevie? Do you want to? I know we talked about it but are we ready?", Bucky questioned.
"Honestly, I don't think anyone could be ready. Do you wanna take her, Buck? I'm okay with it. I think we should, but if you don't want to we don't have to."
"Are you kidding Steven Grant? Of course I want to take her, I just wanted to make sure you did too. We'd have to buy stuff. Like clothes. Those are kind of a necessity. Do you think she's night trained or even potty trained for that matter? Do we have her sleep in the guest room in that big bed or do we buy her a smaller one. Do-"
"Buck, we can handle this all later. For now we just need to agree that we're going to taker her? For the other stuff we could probably get Tony to pay for it and even if we can't we have literal years of military pay back. I think, for now we should put her in those things Stark puts Morgan in. What are they called? Pick-ups? Pull-aways?"
"Pull-ups, Stevie. God you think you were old or something." Bucky teased.
"Yeah, well I am in my nineties."
"Okay, okay. Anyway. We're taking her home with us. We can just buy some clothes and food and stuff on the way home."
"Yeah yeah that sounds good."
The couple walked back over to Bruce, Helen and the girl. "So we figure since she's our daughter we should take her home with us. Plus with my past with HYDRA I can probably understand what they did to her."
"Alright, sounds good that's what we hoped you would say. We had Tony bring down some clothes from Morgan's room so we could get her out of this gown. She's roughly 4 so we guessed that she was potty trained, but not night trained to so we also had him bring down a pack of pull ups. If you plan on buy food, try and feed her real food. None of that nasty baby food. She's too old for it. Good luck", Cho said.
"Wow it sounds like you know a lot about kids."
"Yeah, I have nephews."
"Nice. Anyway, we're going to get out of here." Steve and Bucky both turned to the small girl as Banner and Cho left for a different part of the lab.
"Hey sweetheart. You're gonna come home with us. Is that okay?" Steve asked softly.
She shied away from them for a moment and then seemed to dislike the idea. This time, Bucky tried again, but in Russian,"Эй, дорогуша. Ты идешь домой с нами, хорошо?"
Recognition and surprise showed on her face as she stared at Bucky quietly. Then a small, almost inaudible,"okay" came from the girl.
Steve shrugged,"Maybe she's just more familiar with Russian."
Bucky nodded and picked up the girl saying,"Since I'm assuming you're driving, you control freak, and since we don't have a car seat, she should probably sit in my lap on the way to the store and then home."
"Oh please, you like that I'm a control freak." Steve winked "Also yes that is probably the best idea. Where should we go for stuff? Target or something?"
"Works for me. Hey hon, do you wanna go to Target?" Bucky asked the girl. She just stared at him.
Eventually, they reached their car, parked in the garage, and drove to Target. The food was easy. They just picked out food they thought a 4 year old would like. However, the harder part was picking clothes and a car seat. They had absolutely no clue what kind of seat to get, so they started with the clothes.
As they walked down the clothing aisle for both boys and girls, (Hey let the kid wear whatever she wants. It doesn't matter) anything that she looked at twice or stared at for a long time they put in the cart. Somehow, most of the clothes ended up being pajamas but they still had a decent amount of day clothes. They also managed to wrangle her into some shoes to see if they fit and got a couple pairs in that size. Steve remembered to grab more pull-ups. Eventually, they had to go back and actually look at the car seats.
All three were in the aisle looking at the various car seats, Steve and Bucky trying to figure out which one would work best, and the kid messing with some of the clothes in the cart. As they stood there, a worker came up to them, clearly seeing the internal struggle going on within the men.
"Hi! I'm Cara. Can I help you gentlemen?", the worker said.
"Uh yeah. We need a car seat for our. uh. daughter over there and we aren't exactly sure which one would be best.", Steve responded kindly.
"Oh first time parents? Did you adopt her recently? She's beautiful."
"Uh. Yeah. You could say that. And thank you. She is quite pretty." Steve still wasn't sure how she hadn't recognized them yet.
"Anyway," Bucky steered the conversation in the right direction,"We have no idea what seat to get and we would really appreciate the help."
"Oh yes. Of course. She looks about 4?" She looked at them for conformation. "She's 4, and the proper height so, she should probably be in a booster seat. Personally, my sister says that this brand is the best," the girl says pointing to the brand of seats. "I would try one of these and if it doesn't work out and you decide you need a different seat, we do have a good return policy."
"Thank you so much for your help this should be fine," Steve said gratefully.
They walked over to the area with that brand of seat as the worker left, and looked at the options. There were 4 booster seat options. A pink one covered in flowers, a green one with dinosaurs, a plain red one, and a plain black one. Steve turned to the girl. "Which one do you want hon?"
She mumbled something under her breath. "Sorry sweetheart but we're gonna need you to speak up for us."
"Well at least she's talking now. That's good." Bucky whispered to Steve.
"Yeah. It is good. Alright hon, let's get the one with the dinosaurs. Do you wanna pick out some toys?"
"Yes, pwease," she responded.
"Alright let's get you some toys then."
They reached the many toy aisles and let her go crazy. Good think it was fairly late in the day otherwise they would hold the line up. Most of the toys she choose were dinosaurs, although there were some dolls and various princess and animal toys. She picked out a fluffy stuffed dog and refused to let go of it.
"Well, I guess we're getting her a stuffed dog then," Bucky chuckled.
"I guess so."
When they finally reached the check out line, cart full of various child things, the cashier looked at them with wide, fearful eyes. This was a lot of fucking stuff.
"Sorry. We didn't have anything at home." Steve apoligized.
"N-no it's alright it's not the most I've ever seen," the cashier responded then he saw the girl. "Oh, she's cute what's her name?"
Panic. Much panic. They hadn't talked about that. "Rebecca!" Bucky blurted out. "After my sister."
He scanned their many items and eventually left Target, cart full of bags. They reached their car and luckily it could fit everything in. However, they had a...difficult time putting in the booster.
"Steve, it says it's supposed to click together here but it won't fucking click Steve. Steve it won't click."
"Let me see the damn thing. Watch your language around the kid. She might copy us. Good thinking with the name back there. I think we should keep it. We have to think about names for her."
"Yeah we do. I picked the first name so I think you should choose the middle name."
"Okay. What do you think of....Margaret? After Peggy. I think she would be an excellent role model."
"Rebecca Margaret. I like it. What about last name do we hyphenate it? Or just choose one?" Bucky asked watching Steve wrestle with the seat.
"I think we shou- HA I GOT IT! I think we should hyphenate. Barnes-Rogers. What do you think?" Steve said after successfully installing the booster.
"Rebecca Margaret Barnes-Rogers. It's kind of a mouth full but I like it."
"Yeah because you get to talk about mouth full names James Buchanan Barnes. But I'm glad you like it. So do I."
"Good. Now let's get her in this demon chair and go home. I need to eat, shower and then sleep."
"I like how you think. Let's do it. Hey hon, we're gonna put you in this chair now and go home. How does that sound?" Steve asked the newly named Rebecca.
She looked at him, then at Bucky, then at the chair. She looked skeptical. After encouragement that it was safe, and once they got to their destination, they would eat and sleep, she climbed in the car seat and let Steve buckle her in while Bucky closed the trunk. Pulling out of the parking lot, they headed home, which was currently the compound. They used the tower for missions, meetings and other more work related stuff, while the compound was where all the avengers lived and trained.
They got to the compound and quickly unloaded the car, piled everything in the small kitchenette (with the main kitchen being in the communal area) and started unpacking. Then they heard Rebecca's stomach growl.
"Hey Steve, we should probably feed her and ourselves."
"Yeah, good plan."
They ended up making 4 boxes of mac and cheese (because it's a godsend) and gave their kid a decent sized plate, considering her enhanced metabolism. Between the 3 of them they ate all of the food. Looking at the clock, Steve realized it was probably pretty late for a 4 year old to be up.
"Hey, it's 9:30. Do you think we should put her to bed?"
"Okay, I'll go find some clothes you get her cleaned up." She had made a decent mess of the clothes she was wearing and herself.
Bucky grunted in response and started looking for the baby wipes they had just bought. Steve walked out and into the guest room where they had put the toys and clothes. Feeling funny, he picked out the Captain America pajamas he had tossed into the cart.
He walked back into the kitchen looking at a clean child. "Do you think we should let her use the bathroom?"
"Sounds like a good idea."
Bucky picked up Rebecca, now only in a pull-up because the clothes were dirty. The trio went to the bathroom connected to the guest room and helped her use the toilet. She was potty trained. Good. They honestly had had no idea. Steve got her changed while Bucky tried to ready the bed.
"Alright Becca, do you wanna try and sleep? It's getting pretty late." Steve encouraged gently.
She yawned and nodded, naturally moving to hide her face in Steve's neck. Steve's heart could have exploded at the motion. It was so damn cute. He was already hooked on this kid, and based on the look on Bucky's face, so was he. Steve carefully lifted her up and placed her in the bed, tucking her in.
"Good night, hon"
They closed the door and went to their own bedroom.
"I no longer have the energy to shower."
They both crawled into their bed, Bucky's arm carelessly thrown over Steve's middle. Steve was exhausted but still reeling from the day.
"Bucky. We have a freaking daughter. We are responsible for a tiny human."
"Yeah, well I already have experience taking care of a small human. You. Can't be much different. You did complain a lot."
"Yeah yeah whatever."
"It is cool though. If you had told me in 1935 that I would be married to a big, strong, healthy Steve Rogers, living in 2019, raising a daughter with him, I would have slapped across the face so hard you would have lost a tooth. I'm glad that we're here though. All the shit we've been through was worth it."
"Yes. Yes it was."
They fell asleep cuddling, thinking of how lucky they were.