Actions

Work Header

Good Isn't Always Black and White

Chapter Text

Blood.


That’s the first thing that registered in Peter’s mind as he slowly rose from the restless, light sleep he was used to.


He always seemed to be hyper aware of blood. Everything about it. The way it tinted the air with a coppery taste, and the harsh metallic scent it gave off.


It seemed almost odd how sensitive the child was to the crimson substance, considering how well acquainted the two were. He was used to waking up with the smell of blood bathing his senses because most of the time, he was covered in it.


Peter credited his odd fascination to his very enhanced senses. The Commander said he was like a shark, because he could smell blood from miles away. He could even identify a person by the particular scent of their blood.


He never minded his own blood, he was used to it after all. Plus, the crimson liquid that flowed through his veins was different. It was strung with the tint of radiation that he’d become so accustomed to, it was barely noticeable anymore.


Other people’s blood though, that was a different story. It assaulted his amped up senses and made him want to gag.


As a 10 year old child who’d spent nearly all of his life in solitary confinement with just about no sensory stimulation aside from being essentially tortured in order to understand his powers, and training of course, he had come to rely heavily on the sensitivity of his ears, eyes, and nose. When a human spent too much time without sensory stimuli, they went crazy. Thus, Peter used his ears to track doctors as they paced around the lab three floors above his cell. Used his nose to track every person who entered and exited the base. He kept himself sane.


However, when you’re so naturally accustomed to picking up on everything, the moment you are forced into a new situation, it’s incredibly overwhelming. Peter often had (incredibly painful) Sensory Overloads when on missions. His worst one by far, was 100% credited to his sensitivity to blood.


It was everywhere. He could feel it seeping around his boots. Stinging the backs of his eyes. Hot and stuffy copper filled his lungs. Pushed against his chest obstructing his breath. He could feel it running across the palms of his hands. Dripping. Sliding over each rise, each groove of his finger print.


Drip


Drip


The hollow sound echoed around him. Once soft, now deafening.


The taste. Oh god the taste. He wouldn’t be able to taste anything else for weeks. There were so many. 10. No 30. No 50. So many so many somanytoomanytoomany too many.


Give him a body and he’s fine. It’s just a figure, that’s it. Limp, like a puppet with its strings cut. But the smell of their blood? Then they become a person. He can tell you things about them then. Things he will whisper to himself late at night when he needs to remind himself he’s a monster. That he deserves this.


One. A woman. Young. Maybe 26? No, 25 and 3 months. She had a boyfriend. Or a husband maybe. And a twin. Oh god. He killed her.


Two. A man. No, a boy. Only 19. He didn’t know what he was doing. He shouldn’t be here and- oh god. And Peter killed him.


Three. A mother. Four. A brother. Five. Six. Seven. Toomanytoomanytoomanytoomanyohgodohgodohgodoh god I killed them. I killed them all.


Peter shuddered at the memory.


Regardless, he seemed to be covered in blood yet again. The boy pushed himself up off of the thin wrestling pad he used as a bed, ignoring the aching protests of his ribs. Definitely bruised. Maybe cracked. Hopefully not broken.


All of the lights were off but with his enhanced senses, he could still make out the room around him.


Blank walls. Painted white, but dented and stained over the years. Cold concrete floor, only softened by the thin, fraying pad that was his matress. A steel toilet that had been scratched and dented beyond recognition. A single, scratching blanket used more to keep from bleeding out than anything else. A large steel door with 8 locks and 13 other security measures. (As if he would try to escape. He learned that lesson when he was 6). One large, very heavily enforced, one-way glass window.


This was his room. This was his life. He only left this room for training, testing, and missions.


Training was straightforward. Everyday, people beat him up, and he learned from it. When he started being able to beat them up, they got more people. Bigger, enhanced people.


Testing was the worst. It occurred about once or twice a week. They used him, trying to make a new super serum, but nothing seemed to work. He was an anomaly. They took his DNA but as soon as it was separated from the host, it became inactive.


Peter could have easily told them how to create a false host, or even make the DNA cellularly independent, but if they succeeded in creating their super serum, it was bad news for Peter. He would no longer be of use. Even more so, it meant more assets for missions. And missions meant death. Innocent death.


So Peter allowed himself to be poked and prodded, pushed to his limits and then a bit further, tortured as they pleased.


Finally, there were missions. He despised missions. And he simultaneously loved them. He hated himself for loving them. Missions meant go somewhere and kill lots of people. Sometimes blow things up. But they also meant a few days of freedom.


Missions were the only reason he knew what the sky looked like. The only reason he could identify animals. The only way he viewed normal human behavior.


Missions were random and sporadic. When they needed him, they used him. That was it.



Peter got to his feet and wandered to the glass. He looked terrible today, but that was no surprise. He must have passed out during testing last night, because he didn’t remember coming back to his room.


His mousy brown hair was disheveled and matted with dry blood near the back. His neck was stiffened to the point that it popped obnoxiously when he finally moved it. Cuts above his eyes were quickly disappearing but the blood was still there.


It continued all down his body with the additional cracked rib here, or large black bruise there. His shoulder seemed to be dislocated. Gritting his teeth, he braced against the wall and pushed, effectively popping it back into place. Damn. That was not fun.


Dim, yellowing light flooded his small space, although it seemed blinding. He shot straight up into a salute but dropped his eyes to the bottom of the door as he waited for it to open.


He’d read somewhere, during a mission, that predators often took eye contact as a challenge. That’s exactly what The Commander was. A predator.


The door swung open with a metallic screech that made Peter want to cringe, and two men marched in.


The shorter of the two was a middle aged man with greasy black hair that slicked back to make his yellow eyed glare even more prominent. A wolffish smirk spread across his face as he gazed at Peter’s stiffened form.


“Well, hello beautiful, aren’t you a sweet one. All ready for your Commander? No one even has to give you instructions any more do they? You know just how to treat your superiors.” A slick string of Russian flowed from his disgusting mouth while he took a step toward Peter and grabbed his chin as if to examine the boy.


Peter swallowed the bile rising in his throat. He hated Ivan. With a passion.


“Ivan you disgusting pig, get your hands off my asset,” barked The Commander in an almost bored voice.


Ivan curled his lip, but took a few paces back. Peter hated The Commander, don’t get him wrong but.. there could definitely be worse. If he did his job well and followed instructions to the T, The Commander was almost fond of him. If he was even capable of emotion.


The Commander was a tall, muscular man. His medium blond hair was cut short, in military fashion, and his ice blue eyes were piercing. Cold and calculating.


Peter relaxed minutely when Ivan stepped away. He focused his attention on The Commander, like a soldier waiting instruction.


At ease, little spider.” he barked in a gruff gravely tone. His German was crisp and sharp, leaving no room for interpretation.


Peter fluently spoke 26 languages in total, although he could easily pick up on most others due to their similarities.


His best ones were German, as The Commander spoke it most often, Russian, as many of his trainers were Russian, English considering the head scientist was American, and Spanish because his guards were Colombian and Venezuelan.



Peter lowered his arm and forcefully relaxed his stance, though his muscles were still tense and ready to react to anything. He gave a single sharp nod to indicate that they had his full attention.


“The winter soldier has returned from his most recent mission. You two will be training for the next week. After, we will assess you and judge whether or not you can be trusted to go on a joint mission together.” The Commander’s voice was hard, but calm. His eyes however, were straining to pick up on any reaction Peter might give.


The boy simply nodded and shoved down the pang of excitement that rose in his chest. The winter soldier was returning. Wolf was coming back to him. Wolf was kind. He cared.


Wolf was his father.




Chapter Text

Peter strode down the long hallway, his feet barely making a sound. His long, lanky legs were moving much faster and more confidently than normal. It was a huge risk, being excited. He couldn’t help it. Wolf was back.


Bucky (or Wolf, as Peter called him) wasn’t technically his father. Not biologically anyway. But he was the closest thing to one that Peter had ever known.

Wolf had given him a name. Not ‘asset’ not ‘spider’, but Peter. A real name.

Their relationship was far from ideal. They only saw each other two or three times a year and a lot of the time, he was fully activated. Although, to be fair, a lot of the time, so was Peter.

They argued, and fought, and hurt each other again and again. They barely ever agreed on anything, and found each others presence more irritating than anything, but they had trust.

Trust was a rare thing around here. So they treasured it dearly.


Peter came to a halt, in front of a heavy steel door. The main training room. With a deep breath, he pushed it open and stepped inside.

Sharp, light brown eyes met his own. They widened minutely at the sight of him, but gave no other indication of recognition.

There were six other guards placed around the room along with two trainers. They were being watched, and that meant no talking. No Wolf, only Winter Soldier. No Peter, only Spider.

Peter strode over to the larger man and gave a single sharp nod.

Soldier.” His voice sounded cold and calculated. A formality, nothing more.

Spider,” Wolf responded after a moment.

Nothing else needed to be said. Without warning, their sparring began. It was ruthless and fast paced. If you hurt yourself, you should have dodged faster.

While Wolf was strong and large, Peter was lithe and fast. Bucky used his brawn to bully the fight into his favor without ever losing sight of swift reflexes. Peter however, twisted and spun. He struck fast and hard, flipping away before there could be any retaliation.

They moved almost in sync, their opposite fighting styles fitting together like a puzzle. It was almost beautiful, in a twisted way. They moved like dancers, swift and strong.

The two soldiers had been sparring since Peter was three, and had completed his first round of the Winter Soldier program. Back then, Wolf would have him pinned in milliseconds. But ever since Peter had turned 8, two years ago, Wolf only won when Peter let him.

They knew each others’ strategies like the backs of their hands. Each move was anticipated minutes beforehand. That, however, was Wolf’s downfall.

Peter had the upper hand because of the constant experimentation. With Hydra’s continuous poking and prodding at Peter’s DNA combined with the new serums they injected into his veins almost weekly, he often got new, or enhanced abilities.

His most recently gained ability was super strength. Well, technically, he already had super strength. With his preexisting spider DNA, he was given the ability to exert force 8 times his body mass, but with his tiny 10 year old’s body, malnourishment and scrawny frame in general, he wasn’t near as strong as Hydra would have liked.

Recently, they had managed to enforce that certain gene until it was near tripled. He was now, much stronger than Wolf’s crazy arm. Probably even stronger than Captain America. Who knew?

Regardless, he and Wolf hadn’t sparred since before this particular ‘upgrade,’ and the Soldier was clearly not anticipating the supercharged punch Peter sent directly to his ribs.

Peter grimaced slightly at the sickening cracking noise of multiple ribs snapping amplified by his ridiculous senses.

Wolf stumbled back to his feet and continued the fight, but Peter now had quite the upper hand and took his friend down in record time.

The two got to their feet and caught their breath. No words were shared, for they still had an audience, but a conversation with their eyes was more than enough.

After a few hours of sparring (they won back and forth. In the end Peter had more wins, but it was very close) the door to the ‘arena’ swung open and three men strode in, accompanied by a few marching guards. In the lead, was The Commander.

Peter and Wolf both immediately shot up from their places on the floor where they had been grappling ferociously, and straightened to a tense salute.

The Commander strode closer to inspect their blank faces. Both were littered with bruises, cuts, and blood. Satisfied with their handiwork, he leaned back on his heels and motioned for the two other men to join him.

The first was, of course, Ivan. His oily hair shined filthily in the fluorescent lights. He looked at Wolf once, his gaze flitting up and down his tall form, before jumping to Peter.

His lips curled back in a wolfish grin to reveal pointed yellowing teeth. Peter suppressed a shudder of disgust as he was hit with a wave of appalling breath. He really hated Ivan.

As the man in question opened his mouth to say something most likely vulgar and exceptionally pedifilic about Peter, he was cut off by the last of the three men.

How exceptional! His body is already healing itself at such a pace. I must take a sample and test the genetic modification rate! I wonder-“

Peter stopped listening to his scientific rambling and instead inspected his person.

He was a stout man, rather short, with crazed curly gray hair on the sides of his head and bald on top. His spectacles were slim and rectangular, and consistently slipped down the bridge of his nose.

He spoke in quick, mumbling French and wasn’t particularly bothered that neither of the other two could understand him. He seemed to be talking to himself anyway.

Soldiers,” The Commander cut off his musings with the single, sharply spoken German word.

At ease.” Wolf and Peter lowered their arms but remained tense and alert, eyes trained on The Commander.

These our my colleagues, Ivan, who you are both already familiar with, and Dr. Ranicè. They will be working closely with you on your next mission, should you pass assessment.” He spoke in crisp German, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

Peter gave a firm nod and Wolf followed suit. The boy could feel the cuts and bruises all over his body healing as he stood. The Doctor was watching him intently. Studying him. It was rather unnerving.

The Doctor has yet to see either of you fight. He has, of course, heard word of your skill, but I think we should give him something to back up the rumors,” The Commander stated simply. “I should hope that you both do your best.”

It was an innocent sentence, but both soldiers heard the underlying threat loud and clear. Don’t mess up. Impress him.

And so they did.

Peter followed Wolf into the circle that had been haphazardly painted on the concrete floor. Injuries didn’t matter here. No mats were required. Especially when blood was so much easier to clean from concrete.

They moved to opposite sides of the ring. Wolf gave Peter a meaningful look. They are watching. This is real. It seemed to say.

Peter inclined his head ever so slightly in acknowledgment. He understood. Don’t pull your punches. Aim to wound. He was not Peter, training with Wolf anymore. No, now he was being watched. Now he was The Spider, fighting The Winter Soldier.

Begin.”

The Commander sounded almost bored as he gave the indication to start fighting. But they knew better. They were oh so very aware of his watchful eyes, tracing and analyzing their every move.

They could not-

They would not mess this up.

Bucky lunged first. He always did, it was just how their fights went. Peter reacted immediately, his senses warning him of oncoming danger.

He leapt into the air, soaring above Bucky’s head and landing firmly in a low crouch. He spun on his heel and punched an arm out towards Bucky’s legs, using more strength than he would normally, barely faltering at the audible crunch of a broken femur.

Wolf spun, undeterred by injury, and slammed his metal arm down. Peter barely rolled away in time and made to grab the arm (which was now buried in around 6 inches of broken concrete) but Bucky had anticipated his move and heaved down his leg.

With Peter successfully trapped under the firm knee -which was pressing down agonizingly hard against his already broken ribs- Bucky managed to pull the titanium arm from the ground.

When he thrust his arm down again, aiming for Peter’s head, he was shocked to realize that he had once again underestimated The Spider’s new strength.

The one kneed pin was a move Bucky had often used against the young boy, with scattered results. Sometimes, The Spider found an odd way to wriggle out of his grasp. Sometimes he webbed Bucky to things. Sometimes, it worked and Peter would be successfully knocked out for a few hours.

Today however, The Winter Soldier hadn’t thought to take the child’s strength into account until he was flipped oven onto his back.

Peter had surged up and to the side just as Wolf threw the punch. The resulting effect was Bucky once again having his metal arm lodged deep into the floor.

The kid proceeded to flip Bucky backwards and over his shoulder, successfully dislocating it.

Wolf huffed, as if mildly irritated by the inconvenience, and pushed to his feet. A punching match ensued, back and forth, perfectly matched.

Despite Bucky’s hand to hand experience and Peter’s reflexes, they still landed hit after hit, making contact and then dodging. Back and forth it went.

With a suddenly placed roundhouse kick, Peter sent Wolf sprawling across the floor. He jumped into the air and attached himself to the ceiling, scurrying towards Bucky, and kicking him in the face -hard- when he made to get up.

Tired of the beating he was receiving, Wolf reached into his boot to pull out two combat knives.

Slash

Slash

Bucky was nothing if not good with his knives. He landed blow after blow, slicing slits in Peter’s flesh and watching blood flow freely.

In retaliation, Peter threw up his leg and kicked Wolf forcefully, pushing down ruthlessly on his already broken ribs.

Wolf stumbled back from the sheer force of the kick, but quickly recovered his footing and rushed at the boy.

Peter leaped to the side of the first knife but was an instant too slow for the second. The knife impaled itself into the side of his abdomen.

He pulled it from his flesh, ignoring the repulsive squelch it made, and lunged at Bucky, knife poised.

Halt.”

Both soldiers stopped immediately at the sound of The Commander’s voice. Weapons were instantly lowered, and they stood straight as rods and stiff as boards.

Good. Quite a show you’ve put on for us. I must stop you there. When you both have knives, things get much bloodier much faster. I need you healed for this mission. Follow me.”

The Commander swiveled on his heel and strode swiftly from the room, others in tow.

As they walked, Wolf reset his shoulder and Peter snagged a cloth from the pile near the door to press against his side, stemming the blood.

Neither seemed particularly bothered by their injuries, rather content in each other’s presence, uncaring to the fact that not moments ago, they were trying to kill one another.

That was life in the compound.

Chapter Text

The small group were led down the winding halls. The Commander was in the lead, eyes fixed straight ahead.

He was a single-minded type of man. He had a goal, and he completed it with nothing to distract him. From point A to point B.

Doctor Ranité, or whatever his name was, was chatting amicably to no one but himself.

It seemed that The Commander knew minimal French. Ivan of course, knew none. He wasn’t the most most motivated -or intelligent- when it came to things like that.

Wolf seemed to be paying much more attention to where they were headed than the strange little man’s voice.

Even Peter, who spoke French almost as fluently as he did German, was quickly bored by his continual ramblings.

It was all ‘I wonder if Nina remembered to give files 17-20 to Miguel’ this and ‘this compound really could use a renovation. Very unpleasant on the eyes’ that.

They finally slowed to a halt just outside one of the main labs. It was one that Peter wasn’t very familiar with. He’d only been inside once or twice, to get materials or deliver a message to one of the scientists.

The Commander entered a code and scanned his finger print in the panel to the left of the door. It promptly swung inwards, and the group filed inside.

It really was a beautiful lab. Large and opened, surfaces shiny and clean. Very unlike most labs that could be found in Hydra. Not a drop of blood littered the floor.

Vials and beakers of different colored chemicals lined the shelves, and coolers covered the far wall, filled with samples of just about everything.

Peter couldn’t help the twinge of excitement that struck him when his eyes settled on the extensive array of spare parts and partially completed engineering projects that had been consolidated into the far corner.

Dr. Ranicé here specializes in the genetic engineering of superhumans by means of gene enhancement. Before our mission begins, he would like to evaluate your current gene structure in order to better formulate the mission sequence.”

The Commander spoke in a disinterested monotone. He gestured at the two soldiers to sit down in the chairs placed off to one side of the lab. The doctor scurried around the room, grabbing things as he went, muttering in jumbled French.

Peter and Wolf went to sit, tense and guarded. Testing was rarely ever good. Ivan wandered aimlessly around the room, picking things up and putting them down out of place a moment later. He seemed quite bored by the whole situation.

The Russian man reached out to pick up a golf ball sized, round device. A small charge of some sort, probably for breaking things opened. It was unscrewed on one side, and Peter could see the jumbled wires and a spark of electricity fly every once in a while.

He opened his mouth to warn the Russian of the possibly unstable device but it was too late. Ivan tossed the metal sphere into the air and caught it with one hand, dislodging a wire and in turn causing a particularly large spark to ignite the explosive.

The metal orb promptly blew up directly in Ivan’s face. He let out a screech of pain as hot metal shards rained down on his hand and arm.

Stumbling backward, away from the shrapnel, he ran into a large shelf of chemicals and knocked a few dozen down, shattering them and getting their contents all over the machinery.

There was a beat of silence.

The Commander appeared rather irritated with the entire situation although not entirely surprised.

More silence.

Then.

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE YOU IMBASILIC SWINE!”

Apparently the Doctor had a bit of a temper. Ivan looked a bit scared and quite unnerved by the fact that he didn’t understand the words being shouted at him.

Dr. Ranicé continued his screaming rant even faster and somehow louder than before.

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?! COMING INTO MY LAB AND CAUSING SUCH DESTRUCTION!! THE NERVE OF YOU! I CAN NOT STAND BEING AROUND SUCH UNCULTURED, IDIOTIC, IMBECILIC SWINE AS YOU! NOT TO MENTION YOU ARE LESS APPEALING TO LOOK AT THAN AN ALLIGATOR FUCKING A CANTALOUPE!”

His voice was shrill with distress as he paced back and forth. Peter had to bite back a smile as the insults became increasingly personal. Ivan simply started on, dumbfounded and oblivious to the barrage of insults being thrust upon him. The doctor just continued.

ALTHOUGH, KNOWING YOU, I'M SURE AN ALLIGATOR FUCKING A CANTALOUPE IS SOME WEIRD, DISTURBING KINK OF YOURS, YOU DISGUSTING PEDOPHILE! YOUR HAIR HAS MORE GREASE THAN I HAVE IN MY MOTOR GARAGE!!!

“AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE BREATH! GOOD GOD, IT SMELLS LIKE A FIELD OF GARLIC DIED, ROTTED, WAS PRESERVED IN COYOTE PISS AND THEN LEFT IN THE SUN FOR WEEKS ON END!!”

At this point, The Commander was physically restraining himself from bursting into laughter. The ranting continued for a few more minutes before Dr. Ranicé had calmed down enough to resume his search for whatever it was he was looking for.

Bucky and Peter got to their feet and went to help clean up the destruction Ivan had caused.

As they collected shattered glass and moved machinery, another vile teetered off the shelf and shattered over Wolf’s metal arm.

There was a loud whirring noise, a beat, and then a screech as the titanium plates pulled to a halt. Then it started smoking.

Bucky gazed at it for a moment, completely expressionless. Then he sighed softly. He carefully removed the extremity, and brought it to The Commander. They shared a few words of murmured German.

Doctor, The Winter Soldier’s metal arm has been compromised. I need you to either fix it or recreate it,” he called across the room.

Dr. Ranicé looked rather disgruntled.

Sir, it could take me days! Maybe even weeks! I’m no good with mechanical engineering in the slightest! Don’t you have someone better to do it?” responded the stout man.

The Commander huffed, irritated by the entire situation.

Our engineers are in Base 16 working on Project Red 4. They are not to be interrupted. The Spider can do it, he has quite a mind for fixing.”

The doctor looked notably surprised, but nodded nonetheless.

Feel free to use any of the parts in the east corner,” he said, before returning to his files.

Peter felt his heart leap. Although he showed no outward signs of emotion, excitement bubbled up in his chest.

With a firm nod, he strode to the corner and grabbed the basic tools and materials he would need. He took the broken arm from The Commander and examined it.

It was far beyond the point of repairs. All of the wiring was corroded, the metal dented and scratched.

The boy set to work. A screw here, a plate there. Welding and screwing and wiring to perfection, he was done in nearly an hour.

Walking over to where Wolf sat, he gently attached the titanium limb. With deft fingers, he connected the circuits to the microchip in Bucky’s shoulder.

This arm looked different from his last one. It was made mostly of scrap metal, shining bright and new. The plates were mostly a dark silver, with five or six patches of gold. The hand was rather patchworked, two of the fingers gold, two different shades of silver and a copper ring finger.

Bucky looked shocked -if only for an instant- as he shifted the shining arm. Peter had tried his best to make the arm as painless to use as possible, after Wolf had once mentioned to him that it was sometimes agonizing.

The shoulder connection no longer rubbed his skin raw, and he could shift his fingers without the twinge of electric pain blowing through him that he had grown so accustomed to.

Peter nodded and hummed to himself thoughtfully, adjusting settings until he was content with his work. He straightened and walked to The Commander.

Finished, sir,”’ he said in expressionless German. His eyes stayed just slightly lower than The Commander’s face at all times.

A sign of respect. A sign of compliance. A sign of submission.

The Commander nodded, and motioned for Dr. Ranicé to join them.

Run your tests, doctor. We are already behind schedule,” he stated, voiced laced with irritation.

The mousy man nodded and rushed away. He returned a moment later with an empty syringe and a needle.

He took a few vials of blood, some hair, a cheek swab and a retinal scan of both soldiers. He proceeded to rush away, muttering to himself about testing, blood cell counts, and DNA multiplication.

The Commander turned to The Winter Soldier and The Spider.

Come.”


They stode down the hallways at a swift pace until they reached Peter’s room. The Commander opened the door and turned to them.

We do not currently have a vacant space adequate for your security level, so you are to bunk together,” he said.

The two soldiers filed into the dimly lit space, as the door shut behind them with a metallic screech.

Leaving them in the pitch dark.

Alone.

Together.

 

 

Chapter Text

They stood there in silence for a few moments. Finally, Wolf's facade of the ‘Perfect Little Soldier’ began to slip. His hard hazel eyes softened into something fond.

Peter stayed stiff and tapped his leg once, then twice. Instantly, Bucky was the Winter Soldier once again.

The tapping was Peter’s way to signal that they were still being watched. Bucky was unfamiliar with the room around him, and therefore wasn’t aware of the one-way glass wall just behind him.

He also lacked night vision and enhanced senses, so he was at a bit of a loss.

Peter gestured for Bucky to sit down. When he obliged, the boy settled into the frayed mat and rolled over as if to go to sleep.

Wolf took the hint and closed his eyes. They stayed like that, in silence, for who knows how long. Probably hours.

Finally, Peter leapt up from his spot on the floor. Alarmed, Wolf followed suit, feeling defensive. However, instead of being attacked by enemy forces like he had expected, the man was met by an armful of grinning ten year old.

After a moment, Bucky relaxed, and wrapped his arms around the boy. Peter pulled away with a smile.

“Finally! I thought they’d never leave!” he gasped happily.

“Wha..?” spluttered Wolf, dumbfounded.

“Are they definitely gone?” A nod from Peter confirmed it, and the man let his taut shoulders loosen just a fraction.

“Don’t they have cameras in here?” he asked, glancing around anxiously. Peter shook his head with a sly smile.

“The cameras they use in the compound make a super grating buzzing noise, in a really high octave. I can never sleep when they’re near me. When my exhaustion finally caught up to me in training, they took down the cameras.

“Plus, they have no reason not to trust me! I’ve been raised here, and have never disobeyed any sort of orders. It’s not like I’m going to plot against Hydra!” he chuckled, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

Bucky gazed at the boy with saddened eyes. Peter had never known any other life. He didn’t understand that Hydra needed to be plotted against.

Before he could get too lost in his thoughts, he was met with another hug from Peter. This one, softer and gentler than the last.

He tensed for an instant at the human contact, but immediately relaxed into the embrace when silky, fluffy brown hair brushed his chin.

Peter smelled sweet, and warm. Like home, no matter what torture he’d endured. Bucky slid his arms around the boy with a gentle sigh.

“I missed you, Wolf. It’s been weeks. Probably months,” Peter murmured, his soft voice muffled by Bucky’s chest.

He smiled at the familiar nickname.
“I know, I know. I’ve missed you too, short stack,” he responded with a grin, which only grew when Peter gently punched him in the gut, with a grumble of “I’m not that short!”

Bucky pulled back and examined Peter’s face, looking for clear injury or change since they’d last seen each other. The room was too dark to really make anything out.

He ran his hands down the boy’s arms, checking to be sure the cuts were healed. Assuring himself that he hadn’t damaged his boy. His boy. Peter just chuckled and shook his head at Wolf’s antics.

“So, how is the new arm? If he’d have let me build it in peace then I could have softened the juncture, and changed the material of the bone screw. It’s probably still pretty painful, sorry I couldn’t do more,” he rambled, interrupting Bucky’s brooding. His eyes looked sad, even ashamed at the thought of his not doing enough.

“Hey, no. It’s great. Perfect really. I haven’t felt this comfortable with my arm on in years!” he said, trying to cheer the boy up. It sort of worked, Peter offering him a small smile.

“So what do you think the mission is about? If they need both of us working together, it must be pretty important, right?” Peter inquired.

“Probably. I’m not really sure what it could be about. Probably has something to do with SHIElD though,” answered Bucky, grimacing at the thought of being involved with SHIELD.

“Really? Well, yea, I guess that makes sense. A lot of my more recent missions have been dealing with their initiatives. But even so, they normally don’t pull you into it unless it involves major targets like Coulson or Fury. They haven’t put us on a mission together since I was still shadowing you. It must be really important. Maybe even..” he faded off into silence.

Bucky looked down, and tried to keep his hands from shaking. He knew Peter was about to say ‘The Avengers’ or ‘Captain America’. Peter immediately looked guilty for bringing it up.

Bucky’s whole programming had been based around turning him against Steve Rogers. Against The Avengers. Sometimes, he wasn’t sure what to think. He didn’t hate them. He didn’t really have reason to. But still, their names, their faces, brought up terrible memories for Bucky. He had learned to associate them with pain.

Peter pressed against his side and lowered them both to the ground slowly.

“Hey, Wolf. You’re okay. That’s it. I’m here. Just breathe. You’re fine. We’re in my quarters, no one else is here. Just you and me, Wolf. That’s it.”

It was only then that Bucky realized he was hyperventilating. He focused all his effort on Peter’s breath and felt his heart rate return to normal.

Bucky let out a long breath as his panic subsided relief weighing heavy on his chest. Only Peter could stop his panic attacks so quickly. Normally, it took a few hours to recover, and even then he would often black out from lack of oxygen.

“Thanks,” he choked out, once he could properly speak again. Peter just smiled tiredly and slumped back against the wall.

They sat like that, pressed into each other. Bucky listening to Peter’s breath, and Peter listening to Bucky’s heartbeat. The two sat like that until they finally drifted into a light, restless sleep.

 

Chapter Text

The next week passed in a blur. It was relatively uneventful, but Peter and Wolf were content with each other’s presence.

They trained hard, fast and mercilessly. Strategized constantly. They argued all night long when no one was watching. Bucky teased Peter and Peter frustrated Bucky. It was a never ending cycle.

Still they were content. Despite their frustration and annoyance and injuries, they had each other. Wolf’s panic attacks were over before they started and Peter found that he didn’t have flashbacks nearly as often.

Apparently, all their hard work had met The Commander’s standards, because at the end of said week, they were being marched down to a mission debriefing room.

The two soldiers stepped through a steel doorway and glanced around to find themselves in a larger conference room that was normally used for mission debriefs.

At the head of the table sat The Commander. To his left was Dr. Ranicé, and following him sat Ivan. There were three agents seated sporadically around the table, none of them familiar.

The soldiers took the two seats just to the right of The Commander, and on the left of one of the agents. The Commander nodded calmly to himself as his eyes flitted around the room.

“We may begin,” he stated, standing up from his chair to pace the floor, as he often did.

Peter and Bucky were equally confused. English? Why was he speaking English?

“As you know, Dr Ranicé is one of the heads of our genetic engineering and enhancement projects,” he said, gesturing to the man by his side.

“He runs the base of operations for said projects, located in a rural area of Iceland. Recently, SHIELD forces have been working very hard to both prevent, and reverse all of our hard work.”

Bucky’s resisted the urge to meet Peter’s eye. Both soldiers maintained their facades perfectly.

“We have received intel from some of our American spies in SHIElD,” he gestured to two of the unfamiliar agents, “that they are planning a final takedown of the facility in the next 3 or 4 days.”

Peter and Bucky simply nodded, listening with rapt attention. The spies were American, that explained why The Commander was speaking English.

“Your mission is to take down the SHIELD team they send. They will be assuming that they have the element of surprise. We will use that to our advantage.

“Not only is this a chance for us to prevent the destruction of the base, but also an opportunity to eliminate a high profile SHIELD team. We have reason to believe they will be sending in Special Task Force 1, who have been in our sights for quite some time. The team includes multiple Inhumans, thus our Soldiers.”

Bucky and Peter nodded again. Special Task Force 1 was indeed pretty big. Coulson had put together the team himself, and they were very well known for getting things done accurately.

“However… the head of the Team, Daisy Johnson, or ‘The Quake’ is known to have Fury, and therefore The Avengers on call. If it comes to it, they will likely attempt to intercept the mission. You are not to let them.”

Bucky’s finger twitched slightly, but gave no other sign of emotional distress. Peter knew better, and could hear Wolf’s heart pounding heavily against his rib cage.

The Commander went on explaining key points of the mission. At some point, he pulled up a map, and began gesturing at entry points and ambush spots.

“And before I forget,” finished The Commander. He turned to look at Wolf and Peter, eyes dark and unreadable.

“You will both be fully re-activated prior to the mission in order to insure mission compliance.”


Boom

 

Boom


“Understood?” he asked sharply.


Boom

 

Boom


“Yes sir,” barked Peter


Boom


Boom


“Yes sir,” echoed Bucky softly.


Boom


Boom


“Dismissed.”


Boom


Boom


The soldiers stood and strode out of the room. Peter subtly grabbed Wolf’s copper finger. It was the most receptive to touch.

Boom


Boom


Peter led Wolf back to their quarters, trying to block out the rapid thudding of the man's heart.


Boom


Boom


The door opened and Peter guided them inside, still gripping the copper finger tightly. Wolf’s panic attack wasn’t slowing down. His heart only seemed to be getting louder.


Boom


Boom


Bucky let the darkness envelop him.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Peter sat, divulged in darkness, and slumped against the wall. Wolf was stretched out on the mat, his back straight, as to allow more air into his lungs. His head rested in Peter’s lap, sleeping off the exhaustion caused by his panic.

Wolf had panic attacks quite often, and really, Peter was rather used to them. Still, this one was much worse than normal. Peter almost never had Bucky pass out on him.

The subject of Steve Rogers combined with the knowledge that he’d be re-activated as the Winter Soldier was just too distressing to the man.

Activation for the Winter Soldier Program was much more complex than most thought. It wasn’t simply a matter of activated or deactivated.

When the programming was activated using trigger words, it essentially erased the subject’s sense of choice.

Immediately after being activated, the subject’s mind would find itself utterly blank. Unable to think, unable to comprehend. It’s only function was to follow orders.

Slowly, control would return to the subject and their mind would become more coherent.

It would start with self-aware thought. The subject would gradually reclaim their ability to process events and comprehend them.

They would become conscious of everything they did, but still unable to control themselves. It was as if they were watching a movie, someone else piloting their actions.

After that, control would return bit by bit. The Commander often preferred his subjects to go on missions in this state, because they fought best. They were able to consciously strategize and find the best route to success.

Still, the subject would never question an order, nor would they be able to disobey and command from anyone programmed to be a superior.

If given enough time, therapy, support and the right environment, the subject could overcome their programming completely. Of course, no one was really sure what exactly those circumstances were, because no one had ever gotten the chance to try.

There were 4 assets in total. 4 poor, unlucky bastards that had endured the Winter Soldier program.


The first, of course, was James Buchanan Barnes. Friend to Captain America, and member of the Howling Commandos. And so he was named, The Winter Soldier.


The second, was Vincent Hale. He was a very well known Hungarian assassin who had pledged to kill every last head of Hydra after his daughter was murdered by The Red Skull.

He was captured and placed in the program, just a few years after they had completed it with Bucky. He resisted much more than any of the other assets, attacking agents every time his programming even slightly wore off.

Peter supposed that losing a child would do that to someone.

He was executed after he made a nearly successful attempt to take down a HYDRA leader at the time.


The third Winter Soldier was Lara May Mitscov, a young woman with exceptional hydrokinetic abilities. She was only a teenager when Hydra first abducted her, and only barely survived her programming and conditioning.

When she came out the other side, she was incredible. Unstoppable they said. With her powers, she killed hundreds if not thousands.

Still, there was a flaw in her training. Lara was a good person. A wonderful person really. A true saint.

One day, when they were in the middle of a battle with SHIELD, she was ordered to drown a group of civilians to distract the forces and buy Hydra some time.

It was an order. Lara couldn’t refuse, no matter how hard she tried. The vision of drowning children haunted her for weeks until one morning, about two years ago, she was found dead in her quarters.

Drowned.


The fourth and final Winter Soldier was Peter. ‘The Spider’. Raised in captivity, and given no sense of morals or concept of rebellion, he was the perfect soldier.

By the time he was old enough, Hydra had already perfected the Winter Soldier program with the previous three assets.

Peter had no chance.

By the time he was four, he could kill six armed, fully trained men without problem.

By six, Wolf and Lara were the only two people he had any difficulty beating.

By eight, he won every fight and completed every mission to perfection.

Hydra considered him their greatest success and constantly searched for improvements.


The boy’s thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a small noise of distress emitted by the head in his lap.

“Wolf?” he murmured softly. He received no response.

Peter watched him sleep for a few minutes before leaning back against the wall once again.

Wolf shifted. Peter’s head shot up. Wolf never moved in his sleep. Peter often teased him about how unnerving it was.

A small noise resounded around the steel room. A sort of whining noise. Full of sorrow and fear.

“Hey, Wolf,” said the child, louder this time. No response.

The noise again. Was that… was Wolf whimpering?

He did it again, and Peter felt his face crumble at the heart wrenching sound. It was so sad. So terrified. So unbearably lonely.

“Oh, Wolf…” he murmured, voice barely the ghost of a whisper. He carded his fingers gently through the man’s hair.

Suddenly, Bucky jolted up from his place on the mat, chest heaving deeply.

“Stevie!” he cried, gasping for air as if he was drowning in a sea of hopelessness. The soldier pushed back until he was pressed into the corner, eyes wide with terror.

It was that fear, that need for reassurance, that snapped Peter into action. He moved well into Wolf’s line of sight and waited for his eyes to adjust before reaching to him.

“Hey Wolf. It’s me. It’s just Peter. You’re okay. You’re safe, I promise. There’s no one else here. Steve is gone. It’s just me,” he murmured evenly.

Bucky slowly adjusted to the pitch darkness. He reached out his flesh hand and it found its way to Peter’s head, and buried deep in his soft hair.

“Pete?” he breathed, voice sounding choked and shaky.

“Yeah that’s right. It’s me,” responded the child in the same, reassuring tone of voice.

At the confirmation, Bucky yanked the boy closer until he was practically in Wolf’s lap.

Peter chuckled softly but immediately leaned his head on Bucky’s shoulder, and grabbed the copper finger.

Wolf relaxed notably at the proximity to his boy and practically melted into Peter’s hand where it was carding through his hair once again.

After a moment of silence, a choked off sob clawed its way up his throat. He hadn’t even realized he was crying. He sobbed a second time, than a third.

Before he knew it, his entire body shook with soft cries of pain, of longing.

Peter was completely unfazed. He simply gripped Wolf’s finger a little tighter and whispered gentle reassurances into his father’s ear.

And if Bucky noticed his uniform getting progressively more damp on the shoulder where Peter had laid his head, he didn’t say anything.


For all the times that Bucky had saved Peter, Peter had saved him just as many, if not more so. The doe eyed, fluffy haired child was the light to Bucky’s world.

In fact, Peter was his world. It was just as simple as that.

Peter had never really known what happiness could be, he’d never truly experienced what a life should be.

That hurt Bucky more than anything, yet he was so thankful for it sometimes. Peter had nothing to compare this to, so he managed to find joy in the smallest of victories. Hope in the darkest places.

For someone who had felt happiness, felt love, had a real life, this bleak existence was nothing short of horrific. Yet to Peter, it was just life.


They stayed like that, wrapped in each others arms for longer than what was safe at the base. When the door suddenly screeched open, revealing a hard eyed Commander, they both leapt to their feet.

Peter had been so caught up in his thoughts and everything else, that he’d subconsciously tuned out his senses.

The Commander’s eyes were hard, his brow low and his left hand clenched into a tight fist. He was angry. Very angry.

Assets were never supposed to get attached. They didn’t live, they didn’t love. They were tools, and nothing more.

We will address this issue later,” he barked, throwing two leather uniforms to the ground.

Get dressed. Mission initiates in 9 minutes. Be ready.” His voice was harder than stone and even colder than normal.

The two soldiers rushed to pull on their mission suits as soon as the door slammed.

Wolf’s hands were shaking more than normal but Peter didn’t comment. Peter’s eyes were more distant and glazed over than usual, but Bucky said nothing.

They were about to be activated.

 

Chapter Text

Bucky

 

Concrete



Concrete



Floor



Concrete



Floor



Cracks



Don’tlookupdon’tlookup



Concrete



Cracked floor



Don’t look up, whatever you do. Don’t move your head, or glance at Peter, or even think about speaking.



You’re about to be activated...



No. Don’t think about that.



You’re about to kill people...



Stop. Pete can hear your heart. Don’t get scared.



Too late. You’re already terrified…



Jesus. Shut UP!



The people you’re about to murder, are they innocent?



I said SHUT UP!



“желание.”



No



NO



Notagainnotagainnotagainnotagain



I wonder if they have families…



“ржaвый.”



STOP!



Noppleasestop-



Maybe they’ll have children…



- it’stoomuchit’stoomuchplease-



“Семнадцать.”



-don’tpleaseIcan’tdon’t-



Maybe they are children…



Рассвет .”



- Nonononopleasemakeitstop-



I wonder if you’ll finally kill Steve this time…



Печь.”



- it’sgoingblanknonoIhateitwhenitgoesblank-



Maybe you’ll finally go crazy this time around…



- stopstopjesuspleasejustSHUTUP-



Maybe you’ll finally kill Peter…



Девять.”



-NO! GodnopleasenotPeternotPeterpleaseno-



“добросердечный.”



It’s inevitable, Soldier. You’re nothing but a weapon. A tool. A monster.



“возвращение на родину”



-WHYWON’TYOUSHUTUP!-



“один.”



Here we go Buckaroo. Buckle up, because you’re in for quite a ride…



-No. Things are going blank. I can’t remember. Why don’t I… what?-



“грузовой автомобиль.”









blank



white



nothing





Ready to comply.




———————————————-

 

Peter



Ready to comply.” Wolf’s cold, emotionless voice echoed around the hangar.

 

A shudder ran down Peter’s spine. No matter how many times he heard it, the sound of Wolf’s voice so hard, so cold…

 

Listening to someone who was usually so warm, so gentle and kind to Peter, someone he loved so dearly be turned into something so lifeless was something he’d never get used to.

 

The boy glanced at Wolf- no, the Winter Soldier, out of the corner of his eye. Bucky despised being activated.

 

Peter could understand it, he just couldn’t fully relate. The numbness, the blank unfeeling disassociation that came with being activated was horrible. It felt like death, and it was so unbearably empty.

 

Still, Peter was selfish. As much as he hated the drifting nothingness of first stage activation, he also relished it in an odd way.

 

When Peter killed hundreds of people in say, stage three activation, he could feel it. He could feel the pulse slowly thrumming to a halt when he strangled an agent. He could see the life drain from their eyes when he stabbed someone. He could hear -oh god- he could hear their screams.

 

As much as feeling nothing sucked, it was so much better than feeling that.

 

And so, Peter had long since resigned himself to the stark emptiness that accompanied high priority missions. Bucky however, often worked himself into terrible panics before being activated.

 

Peter had listened to the man’s heartbeat speed to a race as his trigger words were slowly read out. He could almost see the man having an internal screaming match with the voice he sometimes spoke to when he thought Peter wasn’t listening.

 

Peter had heard somewhere that people in solitary confinement often developed hallucinations. Imaginary friends and voices in their heads. Peter himself had never experienced it.

 

Sometimes, he thought it would be nice to have an internal friend to speak to in the days the silence became unbearable. But then he’d hear Bucky scream something like “Stop saying that! I know I’m a monster you don’t have to prove it to me!” or “I can’t, you know I can’t. Ever since Lara, they’ve been super careful,” and immediately be thankful no voices plagued his thoughts.



“печаль.”



Peter was jolted out of his ponderings by a force stronger than a brick wall, made of pain, whiteness and emptiness.

 

His head shot up to see The Commander staring right back at him. In his hands, was the small red leather bound book full of promises of death and hatred.



“угольки.”



Ivan watched, a yellowing smirk spread across his face. Peter’s stomach lurched heavily at the idea of Ivan having such a sense of control over him.



“боронование.”



He braced his shoulders and straightened his spine. The Commander was still furious from his discovery earlier that morning and showing any sign of unwillingness to comply could get him sent back to programming.



“бледно-желтый.”



Focus on something else. Anything else.



“изогнутый.”



Peter had to resist the leaping urge to get up and run. To turn his back and hightail it out of there. A terribly insistent prickling pushed beneath his skin. Something that just said ‘wrong wrong wrong’.



“ребенок.”



It wasn’t his powers either. His skin remained smooth and unmarred by the gooseflesh that accompanied his ‘Spidey Sense’ as the lab workers had dubbed it. The feeling was purely instinctual. The resistance to surrendering control that absolutely couldn’t be shaken.



“саранча.”



Peter had always wondered why the trigger words were in Russian despite The Commander’s preference for German. Maybe the old head of Hydra had preferred Russian.



“парусная лодка.”



What did the words even mean? Did they have any significance to the subject? Some of them were completely random, like furnace, or sailboat. Others were pointedly honest such as sorrow, rusted or bent.



“лунный свет.”



Well here goes nothing. Last one. He silently hummed a goodbye to his awareness.



“кукольный.”









blank



white



nothing





Ready to comply.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 8




The vibrating rumble of the plane shook the 6 agents situated in the makeshift seats of the cargo deck. Two soldiers sat amongst them.


Their faces were blank, like a slate freshly wiped clean. Their muscles were tense, yet their eyes were anything but alert.


A tall blond haired man stared intently at the pair from where he was standing, not really listening to a one way conversation initiated by an agent.


The Commander’s piercing blue eyes flickered between the two soldiers, sharper than any blade.


Soldiers,” he bit out sharply. An order, to be obeyed.


Both assets were quick to leap to their feet. Hands poised in a stiff salute, their spines straightened to a T and feet planted themselves.


Ready to comply, Sir,” barked the pair in unison.


The first of the two was a scarred, muscular man. His shabby, dark hair swept itself over his shaded face and hazel oculars as well as a patchworked, metal arm that glinted in the dim fluorescents.


The second was more of a boy than a man. He had only been graced -or condemned- with 10 years of existence, yet the bags that hung around his clouded, absent chocolate colored irises and worry lines that permanently creased his young profile made him seem much older.


The fluffy brown hair, that normally stuck up at all angles, was pressed down and orderly. To anyone familiar with the boy, it looked wrong on every level. He was always fidgeting, no matter what. Tapping his foot or drumming his fingers, but most commonly, running his hand through his hair. As a result, it was always mused halfway to hell.


The Commander dragged himself from his pondering and raised his chin higher.


Mission is as follows: enter base 6. Place yourself for ambush. Attack once given the signal. You are to attack anything and everything with a SHIELD symbol. Focus on inhumans. Further orders will be issued if the occasion arises. Understood?”


The blond’s crisp, sharp German was heavy with danger and laden with threat at the prospect of disobedience.


Yes Sir!”


“Yes Sir!”


The soldiers responded one after the other. The message was clear. You are our superior. Orders will be followed.


It was almost a shame that they’d have to go back to programming after the mission. It wasn’t rare with The Winter Soldier. He always was a sentimental man. He had often fought his mission or seeked attachment from others. For that, he always got sent to reprogramming.


What came out was perfection. A fresh soldier with no doubts about loyalties. It always took a few years minimum for him to return to his coherent state.


It really was magnificent. But it took time. And time was something that they didn’t have. Especially when The Winter Soldier was their top asset and SHIELD had been rebuilding faster than anyone had expected.


When The Commander had entered their quarters that morning, he’d barely batted an eye at the prospect of his first asset growing attached to The Spider. He was a rather appealing child. If he was still a child.


No, he’d seen that coming from a mile away. What had truly shocked him, was the small figure curled around the older man’s chest, fast asleep. That most certainly put a kink in their plans.


The Spider was perfection. He had no one to love him and therefore no one to grow attached to. He’d grow up a dysfunctional child, sure, but a flawless soldier.


But of course, that had to be ruined as well. By none other than his first soldier. And now the child would have to be put through reprogramming.


It would take a toll on him. He’d never been forcefully programmed. Only raised into it. He’d never have attachments they needed to erase.


It would take months, if not years. It would interrupt his training, their testing and his Mission Schedule. Quite a mess they had made for themselves.



The plane rocked heavily to one side and jolted once again, stronger than before. A crackling voice punctuated through the silence, informing the group that they had arrived at their destination.


The Commander got to his feet and begun making his way up toward the cockpit. The two super-soldiers and 4 other agents all reached for one of the many parachutes that had been secured to the far wall.


The loading deck slowly cranked itself open, deafening the men with the harsh sound of whipping winds and buzzing white noise. One by one, the assets jumped.


Their movements were calculated and robotic as they deployed their parachutes and glided toward the Hydra Base.


Once reaching the ground, the group activated their comms and headed into the stone building.



Mission; phase 1; Enter Base 6. Phase complete.


Mission; phase 2; Place yourself for ambush.



The Spider jolts his head up in search of the optimum placement. After a few long moments of still silence, he starts toward the back east emergency exit. It was nearest to the labs but very well concealed from the outside. Still, many of the American agents were convinced that this was the entrance SHIELD would use.


Once he reached the hallway, the child scanned his surroundings diligently. There were a few high-level Hydra agents tucked away in the shadows, ready for the ambush as well as the regular security that had been placed there.


Peter contemplated his options for a minute before springing into a leap and flipping deftly onto one of the support beams in the ceiling. He shuffled around until placed directly above the offending door so he could drop down at any given moment.



Bucky had chosen a different hallway down which to stride. He was just determining which lab to stakeout when a crackling voice through his comms interrupted his thoughts.


“Soldier. SHIELD will likely send an agent to the main power center in order to control any defense mechanisms we have installed. Do not let them. The power grid is located in the Control Room.”


Barnes didn’t need to be told twice. He spun on his heel and made his way toward the Control Room. Once inside, he jammed the door and snapped off the handle so only an inhuman or super-soldier would have the strength to force it open.



He settled himself into the shadows and waited. It was just a matter of time.

Chapter Text

It was dark.

 

No, it was black.

 

Pitch. Black.

 

The kind of darkness that bleeds through your eyes and into your brain. Where sometimes, you forget to blink because there’s no difference when your eyes are closed.

 

A man is stood, there in the cemetery of all the blackness. The only indication of his presence at all is the rasping breath that seems to scratch at his windpipe.

 

Still, even that gets swallowed up by the whirring of machines. Pipes groan and creak. Software boxes beep and chime. The entire room seems slight with soft ticking and whining, all of which disguises the unique, lower pitched whirring caused by his metal arm.

 

There are lights hanging from the decaying ceiling. He could easily switch them on. He won’t though.

 

Lights help the enemy. In the dark, he can disguise his movements. Trail their steps. He is used to fighting sightless.

 

A creak.

 

This one is louder than the ones caused by pipes. More deliberate. Someone is in the vents.

 

They must be good if they have managed to get this far without detection, especially from the asset.

 

The man stills his breath and doesn’t shift an inch. There is dead silence for a moment. Another creak, further back this time. There are multiple targets.

 

A soft hiss is barely audible from one of the entrances to the vents. It’s located approximately three yards in front, and six steps to the left of where the soldier is stationed.

 

A metallic clatter.

 

Muttered curses, louder this time. The voice is male, relatively young. English maybe? No. Scottish.

 

The voice is cut off as soon as it arrived. Muffled, as if someone covered his mouth to silence him.

 

One ameture and one more experienced. Easy.

 

The vent cracked open and was placed delicately onto the floor.

 

The first figure lowered themself to the ground silently and gracefully. It was actually reasonably impressive. The second… tumbled to the floor with all of the grace of a newborn giraffe.

 

Metallic clattering.

 

More cursing.

 

The first pulled a small flashlight from their belt and flicked it on. She was a woman, tall and lithe. Asian with medium length hair. More important, was the SHIELD emblem that stood out strikingly on her black combat suit.

 

She began to soundlessly maneuver through the Control Room, scanning for Hydra agents or guards.

 

Bucky slipped around the side of a circuit box and reached for the double bladed dagger in his boot.

 

You are to attack anything and everything with a SHIELD symbol.

 

“My god! How is a person expected to work in here! It’s too bloody dark to see the generators!” huffed the Scottish man. As he attempted to maneuver around the maze of technology.

 

The woman said nothing but clenched her jaw as if irritated, yet accustomed to the behavior.

 

“Agent May? Are you still there?” he asked in a harsh whisper, as if it wouldn’t give him away.

 

“Yes Fitz, I’m still here. If there had been Hydra agents here they would know your location and have slit your throat already. Do you know the definition of stealth?” responded the woman- May- harshly.

 

Fitz grumbled in return but carried on in his search for the generator. May didn’t know Barnes was there. He still had the element of surprise.

 

Slipping around the black box and gripping his knife with the flesh hand, The Winter Soldier shot out with his metal arm to grasp the more experienced agent’s throat.

 

Unfortunately, the sound of his heavy steps alerted her only a moment in advance. She ducked down just in time and spun to face him after sending a shout of warning to her friend- Fitz was it?

 

It’s a frantic yelp, Fitz stumbled behind some control panels and backed into the darkness. Sudden hushed whispers permeated the air from where he stood as he tried unsuccessfully to contact other agents for backup. Luckily for Barnes, the Control Room was cut off from any exterior wireless signals in order to prevent the possibility of bugging.

 

Barnes shifted his attention back to the matter at hand. The woman charged him aiming for the legs. She was a good agent, he’d give her that. Only the best operatives would be able to see that his legs were his weakest point.

 

It was fully due to the offset center of gravity his heavy titanium arm caused. It had been a bit better ever since Peter had rebuilt the limb, but it was certainly still there.

 

Despite his legs being his weakest point, they were by no means weak. Barnes simply wound back his metal arm and slung it straight forward as May unsuccessfully tried to duck away.

 

She managed to avoid getting her head hit but nothing could stop the impact when The Soldier’s metal fist collided with her shoulder. The agent flew backwards a few yards until she was stopped by one of the many black electrical boxes.

 

Barnes began stalking forward as she struggled to her feet with a quiet grunt of pain. Just before he could get close enough to attack, May shot foreword and twisted behind him, slamming her foot into the backs of his knee caps.

 

His stance stuttered before collapsing briefly when his legs gave out. He spun to face her and shot out a muscular arm but she had already disappeared.

 

Barnes pushed to his feet and scanned his surroundings for the agent.

 

Unfortunately for him, the darkness didn’t seem to be affecting her as much as he’d hoped. She seemed very experienced with fighting sans sight.

 

The air shifted behind him and he ducked moments before a slim knife was thrust into the now empty air he had just vacated.

 

The woman was lithe. She used speed and agility to neutralize his strength and force. Much like The Spider.

 

Barnes jabbed out a leg and swept it across the floor. Before she could react, he rammed his metal fist upward, effectively trapping her between the two attacks.

 

She managed to avoid the leg but his fist curled around her neck and dragged her close to his face before slamming her into the nearest control box with more drive than necessary judging by the sizeable dent it made.

 

The agent reached up with her legs, aiming for Barnes’s neck in order to free herself but he slammed his other fist down against her cranium before she could, successfully knocking her out cold.

 

He reached for his combat knife to finish the job but hesitated just slightly.

 

“You are to attack anything and everything with a SHIELD symbol.”

 

The soldier’s fingers curled tightly around the hilt and brought it out of the boot. His programming jerked into control shutting down any thoughts of disobedience.

 

“Attack”

 

But.. technically hadn’t he already attacked? His orders were to attack. Not to kill. He wasn’t defying his programming at all.

 

The intense pounding pain that accompanied resistance to commands subsided. He lowered the knife back into his boot.

 

Furious muttering caught his attention along with a soft crash and muffled swearing. Of course. He’d forgotten about the Scottish one.

 

Attack.”

 

“SHIELD symbol.”

 

The Winter Soldier jerked to attention yet again. His eyes got the same distant, unfocused, foggy appearance as before.

 

His thick soled combat boots thudded fully against the concrete ground, crunching brokenly when he stepped on the broken tech littered around.

 

The agent -Fitz- scrambled backward reaching for a gun that wasn’t there. He’d dropped it when the fight first broke out.

 

Without a second thought, Barnes pulled back his fist and slung it forward, slamming with a hollow thud into his head and effectively plunging him into unconscious.

 

Focus on inhumans.”

 

The Asset strode towards the door but not before shooting a .44 into one of their feet and cuffing them to a water pipe. They weren’t going anywhere.

 

The threat had been neutralized.

 

Time to find some inhumans.

 

Chapter Text

The Spider sat in the dark for a long time. There was absolutely zero movement from SHIELD for 16 hours as the young boy perched in the ceiling.

Luckily for him, Peter was used to long periods of time with minimal sensory stimulation. In fact, to him, there was practically a symphony of noises, smells, areal vibrations and airborne tastes swirling through his mind.

The guard down the hall was muttering to himself about terrible hours and, ‘why the fuck did they say being an evil fugitive paid well. Blasted liars.” And so on. He really needed a shower. His b.o. permeated the air and made the boy’s nose scrunch.

Two of the scientists a few hallways down were chatting amicably about the effects of nicotine addiction on baboons, which was really a rather disturbing topic of conversation.

Finally, his senses caught a faint yelp at the edges of his hearing range. Honing in immediately, the boy strained for more noise. Finally, he caught them.

A group of agents, probably SHIELD, trooping toward the base. There were somewhere between 12 and 16 agents, but they were too far away for him to get more detail than that.

Peter quickly tapped into his com link and alerted The Commander.

“Sir, I have upwards of a dozen targets headed toward the base. Approximately .9 miles away.”

In response, he received a brief hum of acknowledgment and a brisk order to hold position and keep updates coming.

 

The Spider listened intently as they drew closer until they began spreading into ambush groups still continuously providing information for The Commander. From this distance, he could gain some information of importance.

15 steady heartbeats made up the squadron. As they split, the groups consisted of 2 teams of 4, one pair, and one team of 5.

The first included a large -probably muscular going by the heavy footsteps- young man that the others called Mac as well as two quieter, seemingly well-trained men in their 30s and a woman in her late twenties with an abnormally steady heartbeat, who they referred to as Bobbie.

The second was much quieter and Peter didn’t manage to get any names however some of the heartbeats were… odd. Inhumans. One was sort of buzzing as if supercharged with electricity. Another was beating triple the speed, if not more, than the average heartbeat. This was the team headed toward his entrance.

The final two seemed to be entering the vents on the far west side of the Base. When he informed the commander, he was simply told that it was being dealt with. Curious, the boy followed their movements to a T and realized that they were headed straight for Bucky’s heavy, steady heartbeat and whirring mechanical arm. They wouldn’t last two minutes.

Still, that wasn’t his problem to deal with. He had a squadron of 4 inhumans headed directly for him. Time to go to work.

Peter shuffled into a better-coiled crouch -the ideal position from which to spring down to the target’s blind spot- and waited, sharp gaze boring into the heavy metal entrance.

Then, something in the air changed. It was as if the very oxygen molecules in the air were strung with an electric current. Peter became hyper-aware of the four bodies radiating heat just outside of the steel barriers. The man -the one surrounded by sharp, sparking and buzzing- stationed himself directly in front of the entry panel where all of the wirings was located.

The guards seemed relaxed as if there weren’t four highly trained inhumans on just the other side of the door. It occurred to Peter, who was tensed and battle-ready despite his passive expression, that the guards might not be aware of the team’s presence. Either that or they were just idiots who thought a door could hold its own against “The First Squadron”. Possibly both. Probably both.

Peter tapped his foot once, then twice against the metal grate. A signal to the agents that they had company. They didn’t react much, so he assumed they hadn’t heard. Oh well. Sucks for them. He wasn’t willing to risk giving up his location for a few dumb guards with zero brain power.

His attention refocused on the steel entrance when a high-frequency buzzing charged the air. Unsure of its origin, Peter tensed further and swiveled his head as if it was a satellite dish that needed some simple re-adjusting.

He didn’t have to very long to figure it out, because a moment later, the door was opening. It glided open as smoothly as if The Commander himself had ordered it. Fascinated, Peter observed from above as the fight broke out.

Those doors were impenetrable. He knew for a fact that they were designed just about flawlessly, as he had drawn up the majority of the semantics. The only way to get through them would be a vibranium fueled power-surge or working on it with a silex isotope separation laser for a few hours. Obviously, neither of these had occurred as the door had opened as if hacked. This was absolutely not possible. Peter was not a particularly prideful person, and he rarely found himself in any situation of arrogance, but there was inarguably no way that the system had been hacked. These webs of security were his pride and joy. Not once, ever, had one failed. This man, this odd, inhuman, SHIELD agent had slipped right through it in a matter of seconds.

The Commander was barking orders in his earpiece filling his mind with a nebulous layer of haze. The spider huffed with barely concealed irritation. He was attempting to solve this security breach, the guards could handle it for a few seconds longer.

Apparently, The Commander disagreed, because with one bitten out snap of, “Spider!” his controlled functions slipped away, and he found himself dropping from the rafters into a smooth attack crouch.

Evidently, he had been wrong. The guards couldn’t handle it for a few seconds longer. Nine out of the sixteen were splayed out unconscious or debilitated in some fashion somewhere along the concrete hallway. He could barely restrain himself from rolling his eyes.

The nearest agent spun toward him with a look of vague confusion but geared up to fight nonetheless. None of the other three so much as glanced in his direction. Understandable, as they were occupied with fighting their own opponents, but stupid.

The man was reasonably tall with dark mahogany skin and a muscular build. He seemed to be well-trained judging by the four incapacitated guards around him. Still, that was nothing for the young soldier.

The man approached him with heavy steps, hand drifting down to his waist where he had a compact handgun holstered tightly. Peter smiled through tight lips and couldn’t quite fight down the satisfaction of knowing that the confident agent was about to get his ass kicked.

The man raised his bruised knuckles high, his face curtained by a stony ignorance. His arm shot forward at a formidable speed at the same time he shoved the other clenched fist up into the boy’s gut.

Granted, it was a quick move. Clever and thought out. Probably even tested as well performing judging by the confidence in his stance. Still, it did nothing to deter The Spider as he twisted away from the punches and danced backward from the shots fired in his direction.

He toyed with the agent for a few moments longer, savoring the frustration that was building up like a dam behind his eyes.

“Trip!” someone shouted, “What are you doing? Hurry it up, we need to get going!”

The agent --Trip-- was good, but he wasn’t as good as Peter. In his split second of minor distraction, the child swept his feet out from under his body and kicked him in the head, effectively rendering him unconscious.
He reached across his body to pull out his double-sided needlepoint knife. It was completely black, with matte blades and a carved design inscription that glinted a dangerous silver. The handle was worn down and ridged just so to fit into the hands of a child. The Spider was trained to be opposed to any affection, but he was shockingly fond of this particular blade. It was his first, and more blood had bathed its ragged, over-sharpened edge than any other weapon he owned. Other than his hands of course.

Just as the boy crouched down to deliver the death blow, a shout rang form a few yards away.
“Trip!” and then a muttered, “holy shit.” It was the same voice as before, clearly a fellow agent.

Peter growled in aggravation and shifted his grip on the blade, but before he could thrust his arm downward, a bolt of electricity shot down his spine and flared in every nerve. The electrical current was different though. Not quite the brute force that he was used to from his shock collar during testing. No, this was different. More natural. More precise.

The burning sensation rolled through his veins like a wave, yet the pain crept steadily nearer to his hand, as if the charge was living, breathing and aiming to save his victim.

The sting grew to a raging inferno in his nerves, pushing until the joints in his left hand were subconsciously forced to loosen and his knife clattered away. He growled in annoyance and pushed to his feet while flexing his temporarily immobilized hand.

The Spider pivoted to face a young man positioned in a balanced stance seemingly on the offensive. Blue sparks lit up his fingertips, and his eyes crackled with electric flashes.

Peter snarled under his breath. Inhuman freaks needed to be put in their place.

A voice located somewhere in the depths of his subconscious rolled its eyes and told him he was a hypocritical motherfucker, but the boy just shoved it away.

Peter began to advance, cautiously yes, but confidently nonetheless.

“You’re just a kid. Get outta here and stay gone. You’ve still got a chance at life.” The stranger spoke in an oddly soft tone, as if to a child. Distantly, someone whispered that he was only a child. He sneered and suppressed the urge to scream at the stupid voice to shut up for god sakes, he was trying to work!

When he made no move to halt, the tall stranger raised his hands to an attack position. The light above Peter’s head brightened to a flaring white before exploding and shooting a current of sparks in his direction. Peter barely blinked, now set on completing his task, and sped up to a stride.

‘Electric Company’s eyes widened minutely, and he made to strike Peter with another current and then another, but none seemed to be able to hit their mark.

Peter deftly sidestepped two more currents before shooting out a super-powered arm and curling his steely fingers around Sparky’s throat.

As he tightened his grip slowly, the inhuman brought up both hands to grasp Peter’s arm. He could feel the skin begin to heat to a shocking burn of electricity. White hot pain raced up his nerves, but Peter allowed the cloudy fog of activation to dull his senses until only one thing ran through his mind.

Kill. Kill. Kill kill kill killkillkill.

And then he was on the floor. He struggled to thin the fog enough to process and scrambled to his feet just in time to watch the inhuman cough and splutter in the floor as he gasped for oxygen and held his throat delicately.

A figure leaned over him, rubbing his back and scanning him for injury. After a moment, said figure straightened and swiveled to face Peter.

The air seemed to thrum with a new frequency.

Eyes met his.

Oh. He knew that face. He knew that face almost as well as those of the Avengers.

Daisy Johnson, leader of SHIELD’s Special Forces division faced him with fury blazing in her eyes.

Chapter Text

Bucky

 

Footsteps echoed against the concrete walls of the narrow hallway. Sound waves bounced back and forth, two and fro, from ceiling to floor, wall to wall. Shouts, cries, and shots permeated the dust-filled, dry air.

 

Attack

 

Barnes shifted his jaw slowly and focused his ears on his search for inhumans in an attempt to block out the chanting voice of The Commander, of his subconscious, chorusing his mission details.

 

-anything with a SHIELD symbol-

 

His mechanical fingers curled into a tight fist at an agonizingly slow rate.

 

-focus on inhumans-

 

Suppressing the growl that rumbled deep in his diaphragm, threatening to spring forth, the asset pivoted toward a corridor filled with agents locked deep in combat, hoping to quiet the voices for a brief moment or two.

 

He marched down the battered way with his shoulders set, and his eyes steely and cold.

 

As he had expected, the volume of the voices died to an insistent and irritating hum. He glanced around his surroundings to watch the soldiers locked deep in combat, but his deft eye caught sight of a glimmering SHIELD insignia that was proudly displayed upon the upper arm of a lean, but fit, man kneeling on the ground.

 

Instantly, the voices increased to a pounding, screeching roar.

 

Attack-

 

-SHIELD-

 

-kill anyone with-

 

-target-

 

-once spotted-

 

They layered over each other until they became indistinguishable at best, and Barnes’ vision began to grow hazy around the edges.

 

With a firm grunt of refusal, the asset strode firmly toward the agent with an oddly petulant, yet chastised expression upon his face. It was as if he was saying, “ I know, I know! You don’t have to keep reminding me, I’m doing it!”

 

The agent seemed to realize that he was being targeted at the exact moment that the soldier reached him, because he managed to dart away from the knife thrust at him only seconds before he would have been another corpse in the pile.

 

For a split second, Barnes floundered as he attempted to figure out just how the man had moved so fast. The voices figured it out before he did.

 

Inhuman-

 

-attack-

 

Inhumans-

 

-focus-

 

-killkillkill-

 

Bucky didn’t stand a chance as his inhibitions slipped away from him like the rolling tide. A heavy layer of foggy murk descended upon his mind and sensations.




No you foolish man, you must think! It is a matter of the heart, not the head. Silly child.”

 

A twinkling laugh accompanied the gently chiding, yet teasing, voice.

 

Was that…?

 

Oh fuck no. Bucky hated flashbacks. He hated memories even more than he hated forgetting them.

 

The soldier tried fleebly to shove Lara’s kind voice away. To drown in the murk that bathed his brain. This proved to be futile nonetheless and the melodic Russian fortified itself to the point that it seemed so nearly real.

 

“That’s an oxymoron! Or a juxtaposition! Or whatever you call it, I don’t know! You told me to think and then said that I couldn’t use my head. How on earth am I supposed to think without my head?”

 

Oh. That was his voice. He sounded young. Or young er at least.

 

The fog and gray seemed to clear until he could just barely make out the silhouette of a slim, short woman with a smaller figure next to her enclosed in a loose headlock.

 

“I don’t know, what do you think Peter? Put this big oaf in his place!”

 

The boy -Peter- squirmed as he tried to duck away from the hand ruffling his bouncy curls but laughed despite himself.

 

“You’re asking the impossible of him, May! He doesn’t have a head to think with in the first place!” he stated matter-of-factly with a mischievous twinkle in him eye .

 

Peter. He knew that name. He knew that voice. Who was he again? Peter… oh yes. Peter. The little parasite that tortured him during training. The genius boy that didn’t know his own intelligence. He was missing something though. What was he missing? Peter… Peter. Oh of course! Peter. His kid. Stupid programming, making him forget the important bits.

 

“Hey! I’m offended! You’re supposed to be on my side. Even as you are attacked and incarcerated you still side with your oppressor? How dare you! The betrayal is too much!”

 

After a theatrical gasp, he felt himself collapse backward against the wall and into a histrionic heap.

 

The cotton in his ears cleared as he gave in to the temptation of nostalgia. He was greeted with the delighted sound of giggles from Peter (his kid) and Lara May (his... what was she again? Peter mentioned the word sometimes. F. It seemed foolish but fit perfectly. Fri.. oh. That’s right. Friend. She was his friend).

 

“Enough you big drama queen” --Bucky feigned an offended gasp at that-- “we have work to do. Now come on, try again.”

 

Lara’s lilting voice was still kind, but held an underlying seriousness that made him straighten his posture and center his mind. He felt his eyes close as darkness enveloped the cloudy image as he tried once more to focus.

 

What was he focusing on? He couldn’t remember. In fact, now that he thought about it, he didn’t really remember any of this. Maybe it had been erased. Many of his memories of Lara had been eradicated after her death. Now that made him perk up curiously.

 

“How’s this?” grunted the deep voice that he recognized as his own.

 

Lara sighed with a hint of underlying weariness. “You have the idea, but you’re putting too much effort into it. You’re focusing, not drifting!”

 

Bucky grunted in frustration. “That doesn’t make any sense!”

 

Peters curly head popped into view once more as he sidestepped around Lara May. “I don’t see how this is going to work. How can you possibly think dissociating will prevent activation?”

 

Lara placed a delicate hand on his shoulder. “No honey, It’s not dissociation that we’re practicing. It’s a bit similar, but doesn’t have he same objective. Dissociation works to curl into one’s own brain and block out the exterior world. It’s a bit like activation without the control.  I’m trying to get Bucky to build a mental block in his mind. A wall of sorts, so that once he does get activated, he can raise the wall and hopefully regain control of his actions,” she corrected gently.

 

Peter nodded his head slowly, seeming to contemplate the prospect in a scientific sense.

 

“Try again,” demanded Lara in a firmer tone, “Drift this time. Find a place in your mind that Hydra hasn’t touched, and go there.”

 

Bucky’s window-like view was cut off once again as his past self closed his eyes and blocked out the world. He was back to drifting. Fog seemed to fill his senses and drown him while the undertow dragged him out to sea.

 

He began to re-enter the land of the living, and his guarded memory melted away with the fog. He blinked his eyes twice, then a third time. His hands were wet. That was never a good sign. He lifted them slowly as his vision adjusted and was greeted with scarlet. Unsurprising, but still disappointing.

 

He swiveled on his heel to scan the hallway, and saw the desolation that followed in the wake of Hydra. Bodies. His copper finger twitched.

 

Sometimes, when Peter managed to get into his mind, he forgot that we was a monster. Hydra never seemed to let him forget for long.

 

His earpiece sparked to life and The Commander’s voice buzzed into his ear.

 

Code Red. All agents report! The Avengers have arrived! I repeat, CODE RED!” Command’s voice was harsh as his shouts grew in volume.

 

“Fuck!” shouted Barnes as he punched the wall. His vision grew hazy and his movements less and less his own as a result of Command’s orders.

 

Into the fire.