Disclaimer: Neither Captain America nor FMA are mine.
" " = talking
' ' = inner thoughts
Italics: different language
It had only been a few days since Bucky was taken from Azzano with the others, but it already felt like he’d been languishing in Hydra’s tender care for months. Time flowed differently when you couldn’t call yourself a free man, Bucky had found. With the windowless and eternally darkened cells, it was as though he’d been trapped in a realm of endless twilight where night and day were rendered meaningless. It was enough to drive a man to madness. He could tell who’d been there too long, how their sunken eyes glimmered with barely restrained mania. And the guys who’d been there even longer than that…Bucky tried not to look at them too closely. It was too much like staring into the face of a walking corpse, their eyes utterly blank and lifeless. He was terrified of being stuck there long enough to become one of them, a shambling husk of a man.
Raised voices broke Bucky from his morbid reverie. Looked like Dum Dum and the Frenchie were fighting again. Bucky probably should have been happy that at least one guy from his unit was locked up with him, but he and Dugan barely knew anything about each other beyond the other’s fighting capabilities. It also didn’t help that the guy was coping with imprisonment by picking fights with anything that moved, Bucky included. Granted, his little tiff with the Jap had been pretty damn hilarious. Bucky didn’t think he’d ever forget the look on Dum Dum’s face after he’d gone on a good long rant about Imperial Japanese dogs at the guy only for him to respond in perfect English that he was from Fresno. Even with the subsequent scuffle attracting the attention of the guards, Bucky considered the hilarity to be worth the trouble.
Unfortunately, Dugan’s current developing brawl offered far less promise in terms of entertainment and after a long day on the assembly lines, Bucky wasn’t feeling up to dealing with the guards. He’d been coughing and aching all over ever since Azzano, and none of it seemed to be going away anytime soon (he was actually pretty sure it was getting worse, but he wasn’t willing to think about what that could mean for him here, where his life was dependent on his health and ability to work). Bucky subtly tilted his head and made eye contact with Jones who was sitting across the cell from him. Though not quite on speaking terms beyond a terse exchange of names (which was more than he’d managed to get out of his other cellmates), they’d both ended up as the de-facto peacekeepers for their rowdier ‘roommates.’ Bucky had defused the last situation. He flicked his eyes over at the jabbering morons to indicate that it was the other guy’s turn to break up the party. Jones gave a deep, dejected sigh of acceptance before lumbering to his feet and physically inserting himself in-between the Frenchie and Dugan. With effort, both men were forced apart, though Dum Dum made sure to roughly shove Jones’ hand off of his shoulder before moving away while the Frenchie contemptuously spat on the floor of their cell before slumping into a dreary crouch.
Bucky swore these bastards were almost as mule-headed as Steve. God, but he missed that little shit. His only consolation in this whole damn war was that his pal was safe stateside even while Bucky’s own life was falling apart (he studiously ignored the fact that between his traitorous health and lack of common goddamn sense, Stevie was always in some kinda trouble no matter where he was).
The tortured squealing of the door opening at the end of the hall immediately captured everyone’s attention. They all met each other’s eyes furtively. The guards shouldn’t have been switching out for some time yet and the ones on duty now were known for discouraging the harassment of prisoners under their watch (damn Krauts didn’t wanna be held accountable for any damage preventing them from working the next day). Bucky felt his muscles stiffen involuntarily as he identified Colonel Lohmer’s smug voice drifting closer over the sound of multiple clomping boots. He saw Jones’ eyes tighten as he too recognized the sound of their unexpected guest. Bucky and the others waited in steadily mounting agitation until the Colonel and his retinue came to a stop outside of their humble abode. Considering the man’s obsession with preaching Third Reich rhetoric, it was more than surprising when he completely failed to so much as muster up a sneer for Jones or the Jap (for once). Upon stealthily glancing at the figures beyond the bars, the Colonel’s preoccupation became clear.
Lohmer was arrogantly posturing in front of a young man being held at gunpoint by a group of Hydra soldiers. The guy had choppily shorn golden hair and a glare that burned from underneath the dried streaks of blood and grime on his face. He shouldn’t have been intimidating considering Lohmer and his goons all had at least a foot and fifty pounds on the kid, but there was something feral and nearly predatory in the way the man deliberately stared Lohmer down, hell, the little shit even had the balls to interrupt the man and taunt him with – was that fucking German?
Bucky barely had the chance to process the fact that the guy was a fucking Kraut before an ugly sneer twisted Lohmer’s face at whatever Goldie had said and he viciously wrenched their cell door open. The grunts wasted no time shoving the man inside via the butt of their rifles (a task they took great pleasure in, judging by the gleeful sneers and fresh dark bruises adorning their faces – looked like Goldie’d put up a helluva fight) and proceeded to slam the door in his face. None too soon, considering how Goldie immediately recovered and lunged around inhumanly fast to strike out at anyone dumb enough to stay in his range. Bucky was thunderstruck to see several of the Hydra goons actually flinch as the pint-sized man was just barely drawn up short by the bars with a resounding clang. Judging by the darkly satisfied grin on Goldie’s face, he’d noticed too.
Finally, Lohmer deigned to address the rest of them. “Enjoy your new guest, gentlemen.” The Colonel spat the word like an insult. Bucky didn’t think he’d ever seen anyone get under the man’s skin so thoroughly before. “I’m afraid this one’s not quite civilized yet. I’m sure he’ll fit right in with you Allied dogs.” He nearly snarled at them before turning sharply on his heel to leave. His men hesitated long enough to shoot equally hateful and wary glares at Goldie before leaving to follow their superior.
The diminutive Kraut remained with his arms pressed up against the bars for about a minute after they’d all heard Lohmer and his soldiers leave. Bucky and the guys remained tense and watchful, unwilling to break the temporary peace by acting first. Goldie eventually released a darkly amused huff and twisted around so that he was facing them head-on. Upon closer inspection, Bucky mentally revised his initial assessment of the Kraut’s age from his mid-twenties to late teens (and wasn’t that a kick in the gut, to see an actual child in this hellish place). Goldie’s body may have been young and growing, but it was an old soul that peered out at them through tiredly determined eyes. No wonder he’d initially mistaken the kid for an adult.
It was Dum Dum who unhesitatingly voiced what the rest of them were thinking. “What the fuck just happened?”