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An Unempty Nest

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The Asset stares at a wall covered in photographs and news clippings preserved behind glass. He recognizes the man central to all the pictures in this section. He shifts slightly to the side. His reflection appears on the glass. It's the same face as the one in the pictures, though the image of the man so carefully preserved is younger, showing happiness in some photos and sorrow others. Emotions. Things he once had. Maybe he can have them again.

He has no mission here. There will be no more missions. His handlers are dead. He failed to kill Steve Rogers, but he thinks that is a good thing. Rogers had called him by a name. The sound still rings in his head, like a giant bell shaking apart everything he once knew.

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 in cryofreeze slowed his aging, the same as the ice did for Captain America. Steve.

His flesh fingers spasm, twitching toward the glass. Several of the photos show Bucky with his arm tossed over Steve'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 being taken. He has no association with what their contents hold or the inscriptions detailing his former life. All that was 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. Conveniently, Bucky knows exactly where to find him.