Bucky wakes in a dark room, lying on a cement floor, his head pounding. He is aware enough to regret the fact that this isn’t an unusual occurrence.
He makes a careful assessment. He is alone. He is in a fairly average cell, four walls, the entrance in front of him some sort of plexiglass material, maybe. He can just make out the lock, looks electronic.
He remembers only flashes: getting jumped, a fight, a knock to the back of his head, a jolt from something that might have been a taser. He must have blacked out. He doesn’t remember being transported; he doesn’t remember the faces of his assailants.
Bucky pulls himself up onto his knees, taking a moment to steady himself as a wave of dizziness floods through him. He feels like vomiting. It passes and he moves to the door.
When he presses his hand against the barrier he notes that it’s firm and surely shatterproof. The lock – definitely electronic – is far enough away that he would have had difficulty trying to rewire it even if the glass wasn’t in the way. Unfortunately his captors were smart enough to empty his pockets; they’ve found all his hidden weapons.
“Hey, buddy,” someone says, and Bucky tenses. “You awake?”
The voice comes clearly even through the barrier. Bucky peers out and it doesn’t take him long to identify the source.
Across the hall, one room farther to the left, is another occupied cell. Two young men are sitting back-to-back on the floor, hands bound, tied to each other. Bucky wonders if they were more trouble than him or simply more valuable. Either way, he questions his captors’ intelligence for leaving them together. He and Steve could have freed each other like that, broken each others’ bonds.
What Bucky wouldn’t give for Steve to be here now.
“Buddy?” the voice says again.
“I can hear you.”
The man speaking has a cheerful face, even while locked in a cell, and a head of thick, wavy dark hair. He looks like he hasn’t shaved in a couple of days, which might be a sign of how long he’s been in there. He has lighter skin than his companion, who is watching Bucky with some suspicion. He is more cautious, Bucky thinks, or maybe just less trusting. They are both dressed similarly, worn leather jackets and practical boots, and they both look like they’ve been knocked around a bit.
“You’ve been out cold for hours, since they stuck you in here. Weren’t sure if they’d killed you.”
“Locking a dead man in a cell seems like overkill.”
The man laughs. “True enough. I’m Poe, this is Finn.”
Bucky hesitates. He supposes a name can cause little damage. If they’re plants, they surely already know who he is. “Bucky.”
“So what’d you do to get yourself locked in a First Order cell?”
First Order? Was that some offshoot of Hydra? Something entirely new? “Pissed someone off, I guess.” Bucky did that a lot. It was a failing of his.
The guy – Poe – laughs again. “Finn, he’s a man after our own hearts. You’re not with the Resistance, are you?”
Not even an Avenger, technically. “What do they resist?”
“Stars,” Poe says, tilting his head to try to make eye contact with his companion. “What planet are you from?”
Oh, God. Don’t let it be an alien thing. “What planet are you from?”
“He’s got a concussion or something, Poe, leave him alone,” the other man finally says. Finn. “And you really don’t have to make friends with all the inmates.”
Poe is grinning. “What the hell else am I gonna do? We’ve gotta give Rey a bit more time.”
“Annoying our temporary neighbors doesn’t actually give her any more time.”
“Yeah, but it makes it go by faster for me.”
“I guess. Just as long as you don’t annoy our guards anymore.”
Poe winces. “I still got the bruises.”
“Sorry to interrupt,” Bucky says, not sorry at all, “but where are we?”
Finn gives him a weird look. “Where do you think we are?”
“I was in Brooklyn but I was unconscious for the trip, so fuck if I know where they took me.”
“Yeah. Am I even still in New York?”
“Buddy,” Poe says, “I’ve been a lot of places in the galaxy but I’ve never heard of any Brooklyn or New York. You’d better get your head checked when you get out.”
Bucky pinches his nails into his palm. “It’s an alien thing, isn’t it.” He doesn’t even bother phrasing it as a question. He wonders how they can even understand each other. Maybe he should check himself for weird alien tech implants.
Finn says, “Actually, the First Order’s got a pretty stringent no aliens policy.”
A racist criminal organization, then. Maybe they’re related to Hydra after all. “I guess you don’t know Thor, do you?”
All the response Bucky gets is a couple of quizzical looks.
“Damn. The Guardians of the Galaxy?”
The quizzical looks intensify.
Bucky sighs. “Ah, well, those guys are assholes, anyway. Who’s this Rey person you’re waiting for?” Maybe she can break Bucky out, too, if she’s gonna be here for Poe and Finn anyway. All he needs is someone to open the lock.
Finn and Poe grin at each other. “Our secret weapon,” Finn says.
Sounds like a girl after Bucky’s own heart. He curls his metal hand into a fist and tests the plexiglass (or whatever it is, you never can tell with aliens) but he doesn’t even make a dent; the vibration judders all the way up to his shoulder.
“Damn,” Poe says. “Don’t break yourself. You can leave with us.”
Bucky meets his eyes. “You don’t even know me.”
“If the First Order wants you locked up, chances are we’re on the same side.”
“I don’t even know who that is. I don’t know why I’m here.”
“Hey, you wanna stay and find out, that’s your call. But if you come with us, maybe we can help each other.”
Bucky looks at Finn, whose gaze hasn’t lost its edge of suspicion. “I’m not really in the business of trusting strangers.”
Finn shrugs, the gesture seeming more subtle with the way he’s pushed up against Poe’s back, muting it. “Do what you want. I’m certainly not begging you.”
“Why are you even here?”
“Getting a lot of it while you’re locked up?”
“Secret weapon, remember?” Poe says. “We were just the distraction.”
Finn elbows him. “You talk too much, Poe.”
“Who’s he gonna tell? Besides, what does it matter anyway? Rey’s on her way.”
“We hope,” Finn mutters, and for the first time a glimmer of concern flickers over Poe’s features.
“She always pulls through,” he says, and from the way he’s shifting it looks like he’s trying to hold hands with Finn behind their backs.
Adorable, Bucky thinks, holding back an eye roll. “So, what did you call it, the Resistance? That’s you?”
“One small part of it.” Poe seems disinclined to say more. Apparently Bucky’s landed on the one thing that shuts him up.
He must care about the Resistance a good deal, to protect it even when he seems to lean towards trusting Bucky.
“Your arm,” Finn says, nodding to Bucky. “Where’d you lose it?”
“The war,” Bucky says. That’s all he’s inclined to say but Finn accepts that answer. Somehow Bucky knows they aren’t thinking of the same war.
He goes and sits in the front right corner of his cell, arms around his knees. He can wait for this Rey person, their secret weapon. He only needs someone to open the lock, that’s all. Then he’s out of here, fuck this alien shit.
(He still doesn’t know why they brought him here.)
(Hasn’t he been experimented on enough?)
Finn and Poe’s voices lower as they carry on a conversation between themselves. Bucky tries to figure out what the hell he’s going to do once he makes it out of the cell. He doesn’t know where he is. He doesn’t even know if he’s in the same solar system anymore. (Likely not, all things considered.) He doesn’t know how to fly a spaceship even if he had one, though it can’t be that different from flying a plane, can it?
The Guardians of the Galaxy might be assholes but Bucky really wishes he knew how to contact them right about now.
When the door opens, Bucky immediately tenses.
It’s a girl, slim and brunette, wearing a dark gray uniform and carrying a surplus of weapons. “Everyone all right?” she asks, running to the cell that holds Finn and Poe.
Bucky doesn’t need to hear the breathless, relieved way Finn and Poe both call out, “Rey!” to know this must be their secret weapon.
She reminds him of Natasha for some reason, though he couldn’t have said why. Perhaps something in the way she moves, or her deceptively fragile shape.
“We’ve got to hurry,” she says, efficiently setting to the electronic lock on their cell. “There is only a small window before the guards will be by again.”
The door slides open and she darts inside, removing their bonds. Poe turns towards her, his fingers on her wrist. “Did you get it?”
Rey nods. “I got everything.”
“Good girl,” Poe says, beaming at her.
She nods again, mouth quirking in pleasure. She and Finn embrace briefly and then they all stand up. Rey’s hand is on Poe’s chin, tilting his face this way and then that. “They hurt you?”
“Not much,” he says. “Later.”
Rey distributes her cache of weapons. “With any luck, we can get out the way we came in.”
Poe jerks his head towards Bucky. “Think you can make room for one more?”
Spinning around, Rey says, “Oh, Poe. You’ve got to make friends everywhere, don’t you?”
“That’s what I said,” Finn complains.
“We can’t just leave him,” Poe insists.
“Just open the door,” Bucky says, standing near the barrier. “You never have to see me again after that.”
When Rey begins to rewire the lock on Bucky’s cell, he has the impression that it’s less agreement and more an urge not to get slowed down by an argument with Poe. Bucky doesn’t much care why she does it, only that she does.
He has no desire to stay here.
But once he’s free, Rey stretches her hand out and Bucky feels a sudden pressure on his throat, as though she’s choking him with her mind. Damn it. Another weird one, like Wanda.
“I will kill you if you get in our way, or if you threaten our escape,” she says.
That’s fair, Bucky thinks, and honestly he had no plans to do either of those things so he wants to say, fine. But that invisible grip is still tight around his throat and all he can manage is an unintelligible burble.
“Rey,” Poe says in a tone that suggests this is not an altogether uncommon sight.
When she releases him Bucky sways and almost drops to the floor; he steadies himself with one hand to the wall, the other at his neck, rubbing.
I just want to get out of here, he’d say if he could, but his throat is too raw.
“Let’s go,” Rey says firmly, and leaves him behind. Finn follows first, and Poe claps Bucky on the shoulder with an apologetic look.
“You can still come with us,” he says. “It’ll be easier that way. You have no weapons.”
“I have myself,” Bucky finally manages to say, only slightly hoarse.
“Come with us,” Poe says again, and goes after his friends.
Bucky follows them.
He’s a survivalist, right? These people can help him survive.
They make it farther than he’d thought they would. Rey leads them through a maze of corridors quickly and quietly; it’s almost like she can sense when someone is near. Once they have to crawl along a bridge overlooking a wide open area packed with what looks like a regiment of troops, all in white armor. Bucky swears under his breath.
It’s a short while after that that their luck runs out. Rey says, “Wait!”
But it’s too late. A pair of those white-armored soldiers head straight into them and though Finn and Rey take them out with guns that shoot some type of energy blast, one manages to call for help through a comm first.
“They’ll be looking for us now,” Poe says, gun in his hand.
“Give me a weapon,” Bucky says, and Rey hesitates only a moment.
She tosses him hers and pulls out what looks like the hilt of some sort of sword without the actual sword attached instead. She presses a button and the thing ignites, a glowing blue blade erupting out of the end.
“What the fuck,” Bucky says, but there’s no time for anything else.
They are done with sneaking around and instead Rey leads them racing through the corridors. The gun doesn’t fire like any gun Bucky has ever used before but it’s smooth and accurate; he aims for where he thinks the armor looks weakest, the joints between chest and shoulder, the gap below the helmet. Finn is as good a shot as anyone Bucky’s ever seen and Rey can deflect enemy fire with her laser sword thing. Poe has positioned himself at the rear and Bucky thinks it’s on purpose; he has intentionally made himself into cover for his friends.
“Here,” Rey says, stopping to tap an access code into an electronic lock and then shoving them one by one through the door that slides open. Once they’re all inside Rey slices through the lock on the other side. “That ought to keep them back for a little while at least.”
Finn is already climbing up to open a panel in the ceiling. He swings himself up and then his head pokes back through, holding his arms out to Poe.
“Oh, no,” Bucky says. “This is your escape route? Through the ventilation?”
Rey glances back at him as she scrambles up. “You’re still welcome to get out on your own.”
Bucky sighs. At least they’re likely to be shot at less while they’re crawling through the ceiling.
He accepts Finn’s hand up.
It’s easier than it should be. They come out on the far side of the compound, dropping out into soft mud with no one around. The sky is overcast and the air is warm and sticky.
“Let’s go,” Rey says, and she leads them out into the cover of trees.
Bucky can hear a commotion in the distance, alarms ringing, people shouting, but they’re already gone.
Well, he figures, he probably deserved some good luck finally.
He stays with them until they’re far enough away that it begins to feel safe. Rey pushes Finn and Poe up against the trunk of a large tree and inspects them while they protest.
“We can do this later, on the ship as we’re leaving, preferably,” Finn complains, but Rey shushes him.
“I need to see that you’re okay,” she says, her voice tight, and the men are quiet after that.
She skims her hands all over them and Bucky coughs.
“Yeah,” he says. “I’m gonna go. I’m keeping your gun.”
“I don’t care about the blaster,” Rey says, one hand in Poe’s hair, tugging his head around as she peers at him, her other hand in the front of Finn’s shirt like she just wants to maintain contact. “And you can do what you want.”
“You have no idea where you are, do you?” Poe says.
Bucky looks at him without answering.
“And no ship?”
Bucky still just watches him.
“It’s just… Seems like you could use a friend, that’s all.”
Finn is rolling his eyes at Poe in exasperation. He mutters, “Wasn’t picking up the two of us enough for you?”
He doesn’t sound upset, though. Sort of like this is just how he expected it all to go from the start.
What Poe said is true. Bucky has no idea where the hell in the universe he is except that he isn’t where he needs to be. He doesn’t know how to get home. “I just want to go home,” he says.
When Rey turns to look at him, for the first time there’s a glimmer of sympathy in her features rather than brusqueness and impatience. “Poe’s right,” she says, and Poe might actually look even more surprised than Bucky feels. “We can help. We will help you.”
“Why?” Bucky can’t stop himself from asking.
The three of them exchange glances that mean something Bucky isn’t quite privy to. Rey’s smile is shy and small. “Poe helped us find our home. Maybe we can help you find yours.”
Bucky swallows and looks away. He doesn’t know why he’s thinking about Steve.
(Yes, he does.)
“Okay,” he says eventually, and they all walk off together.