Chapter 1: what the water gave me.
“Mama! Mama!” a little girl demands to her mother as it strikes time for her bedtime. Blue eyes meet green ones, as the child frowns due to the lack of attention. The woman stops and looks up from her desk and looks at the book her daughter is holding.
The red-haired queen doesn’t say anything as a small smile blooms on her face, she pushes away from the table and the forms she was going to pat a place on her lap. The little girl squeals in excitement and runs over to her mother, like placing the book in front of her.
“What is tonight’s tale, love?” she questions softly as she kisses her daughter’s forehead. Chubby hands pat the leather bound book. The queen glances down and can’t help but frown at the title for just a moment.
“Papa brought this one from his trip!” the little girl grins. Her face crinkles up at the thinking about her father, the king was always traveling to each corner of the kingdom sending gifts to his children and wife when he could, though the queen wished nothing more for him to be by her side.
They both knew that was impossible though.
“And what did Papa tell you about?”
“That it’s about the bravest person he knows!”
Queen Natasha frowns but at the sight of her daughter’s smile, she shakes her head just a little and opens the book as little Princess Jaime settles in for the tonight’s tale.
“So, the name of this story is the Prince and the Witch.”
–Here’s the thing, Prince James was the most beloved prince of all the land. A rainbow had dawned after the heavy rain that befell the kingdom the night before, and everyone knew that the baby – the boy, the man, the one-day future king– was going to be a very lucky man. Prince James excelled in everything he did from studies to fighting, to archery – you could name and he was able to do it.
He was also very handsome with bright blue eyes and chiseled jaw. He was a literal dream, and even though he knew, he was still a humble man.
(Queen Natasha tries her hardest not to roll her eyes to be back of her head and keep reading.)
His father adored him. His people looked up to him and his sisters and cousin loved him. He even had a beautiful future fiance from a Northern kingdom, a Princess Natalia, that he knew he would come to love, but not everything was perfect for the young prince.
Prince James Buchanan had the sight, an odd thing from his mother side and he sadly knew how that ended for most people, his mother being a warning for what happened to people like him.
From the day he was born, he could see things that others couldn’t. Things from the shadows and brighter than the sun sort of creatures talked to him all the time, they had even tried to even take him more than once when he was a child. He spoke of it often as a child, his mother loved his tales of whatever he saw in the garden that day, as his sisters asked a million questions – even his cautious younger cousin couldn’t help but be a little curious every now and then.
However, first, his mother died –an incident near the wading pool where the fairies tend to play too much– and then the war comes…and people, including the good King George, always changed with war.
Prince James forgot about the pool and his friends that constantly called out to him. He was a man with one single mission regardless of anything else – to protect his kingdom from the invading Hadria above all else.
It was a trap, an ambush. One of Prince James’ own men had sold him to the enemy and many lives paid the price as he fought back tooth and nail. The Winter Soldier, as he was known over time in his battles with the Kingdom of Hadria, wouldn’t go down without a fight – he had done so until there was a swing to his back and he ended up falling into the river falling beneath the bridge close to the encampment.
They had always said that if you died a slow death, you might see your life flash before your very eyes – but, James didn’t have that experience. Instead, as his black Armour was slowly taken off of him by the current and other natural blockages that belonged to the river, he heard them chattering and whispering about.
Isn’t that the prince?
Betrayed? Dishonored? Overthrown?
Those mythical creatures of the forest and fae that tended to play with human hearts, that drowned people when they weren’t careful enough or even stole their identities if they knew their name well enough. James used to live off of all those stories once, but for now, with his barely conscious thoughts – he thought about Steve waiting back home, of getting another one of Natalia’s letters, of his baby sisters. Things that reminded him of the home he hadn’t seen for a good two years now, in a war that had been going on even longer than that.
James thought of sweet things, of home and revenge in what he thought would be his certain death.
He doesn’t expect to be opening his eyes to such bright light goodness knows how many days afterward. The golden light is shining brightly through the window right in front of him and James isn’t exactly sure where he is, but he feels the exact same energy from the river run through the little room, which sends him on high alert.
He is quick to pick off the footsteps and meowing coming from another room. He gets up slowly, the best he can and pulls himself into a crouching position with the small bed frame behind him so he can get a clear view of the whole room – a small bookcase with a table filled with cups and various jars.
James is also preparing to ram through anyone that is going to open the door.
Jacopo, he hears a voice before anything else happens, before he can even move or think as a hooded figure opens the door and an even brighter, golden light envelope the room and sends James crashing into the wall before he lays in a slump on the bed.
“Don’t you think that was too much?”
“You never know with these types of people, Jaco.”
His head is thumping in pain as he fights to stay awake, but instead, he has moved around like a rag doll to lay down once more. There’s meowing and the figures are standing above James. Their eyes meet, blue clashing with flashing gold that is melting into something darker.
James with his last fleeting thoughts thinks of what this person could be.
It’s the last coherent thought he has before collapsing completely, as the hooded figure sets about their work once more.
Chapter 2: which witch?
Chapter by siruru, the-canary (siruru)
i am using a fake name for the mc for now because you never tell someone in this world your true name for reasons – faes and all that. also, the little banner is what i am basing her current clothing off of. why such precautions are taken will be explained as the story goes. i am sorry if it seems like too much, but i hope you enjoy it and keep reading!
Queen Natasha pauses as she watches her daughter run around her room, giggling and jumping about – unlike her parents, Jamie was an unruly child when she wanted to be. This time, however, the sight of her running with a purple blanket with it covering her head automatically brought back old memories for the Queen.
“Jamie!” she exclaims in that motherly sort of tone, as the little girl stops and giggles. Blue meets blue as the young princess gives her mother a grin, which causes her heart to melt, “What are you doing, dear?”
“Mama! Mama!” Jaime giggles out while running towards her smile, “What do you know about the Good Witch Morgana?”
Natasha bites back a groan but tells her daughter to grab her book from the night before and she’ll move forward with the story that they were reading – it was better than answering meaningless questions that did nothing but cause her blood to boil over.
James moves in and out of sleep for a number of days afterward. Sometimes, he sees the red-hooded figure above him, other times he feels his body being mended together and there are times where he is sure that there is something warm and fuzzy rumbling near his side. However, all this time, James is unable to move as he slowly comes to realize that his right arm is tied to the bedpost with thick veins and rope.
The prince is being held hostage, and in his troubled mind, he doesn’t notice that his left arm isn’t moving at all.
It isn’t until the morning light begins to stream into the small and cramped room that James can finally see it. James moves to quickly as his eyes get accustomed to the light, that’s when the pain rushes from the left side before it numbs out.
Blue eyes move down to see the mess of red and green. Leaves of all kinds are covering his arms and some of his chest. There are some large stitching on the tip of his shoulder which is a mess of red rashes and blisters that are just starting to heal. However, as hard as he can to push himself up or move forward, it doesn’t work – his left side isn’t moving at all.
It’s then when he starts screaming, cursing the world and whatever had happened to him. He thrashes about in fear, anger, and confusion. Witch, witch – he feels himself call out but the pain and burning from the hasty removal of the leaves him and dizzy mess.
He is sure he is close to breaking the poor bed when he hears, though his delirium, the door open and he sees the figure once more. The imposing red cloak is the once more, covering their face and James is quick to notice that there are bandages covering their arms and the bottom portion of their face.
James freezes in familiar fear when he sees, he sees, small fairies and glittering gold around the person trying to get him to calm down. So, instead of trying to calm down, he makes the situation even worst by lowering his head just a little and hitting the stranger square in their forehead.
James groans, unsure of what to do next though he is sure that the figure is cursing up a storm though he can’t quite hear it at the moment. The little fairy shakes her head and there is more annoyed meowing. James is quick to move his legs to try to get up when he sees a bandaged hand moved and an airy voice echoes all around.
James says nothing as his body slowly hunches forward and his eyes slowly being to close. The cloaked figure towers over him and James sags forward without a fight.
“Fucking Jacopo,” the figure glares while fighting to push the body back on the bed, “Tells me to be nice for once and look where it gets me.”
“It looks like he reopened his wounds again,” the more serious of the fairies states as she whizzes over the now sleeping male. Her green eyes match her skin, though her wings are transparent while her long red hair covers the rest of her tiny body.
“I’ll have to start all over again,” the witch –as the young man was yelling– groans in annoyance over all her hard work being ruined, but to the little fairy’s surprise – she didn’t plan on throwing him out just yet. She rubbed her forehead and could only let out a relieved sigh when she saw no blood had come out and stained the man’s face – she didn’t need another problem to deal with.
“Could you please find Roc, Gamora?” the witch asks softly, as if the creature has room to say now because the witch knows –after so many years of training and living in the forest– that fae and creatures of the other realms could only be asked and never told to do things, unless mortals were fools enough to think they had power over them.
However, Gamora has known the witch long enough to understand what she was asking: “Yes, but be careful.”
She flies around her head once, then twice around her head before heading out the door and restarting the work all over again, all the while cursing a certain feline.
It a whole day later when James finally wakes up again, only to see that there is an iron cage placed above his chest and left arm. He struggles only for a moment before noticing that there is a figure sitting on a little chair next to the window.
The same cloaked figure from before is sitting there, but James isn’t quite sure if they are asleep or awake and he can’t really move to get up, so he does the next best thing he can think of.
“Hey, Hey!” he bellows out, thrashing his legs the best he can so that they hit the best post – it’s then that the figure wakes up and the fairies start to move about once more, not that he is trying to pay any attention to them.
He’s awake. He’s awake.
All of them coo out, as the figure moves about before settling in. James thinks that they are looking at him since the hood is pointed in his general direction. He has so many questions and declarations in mind, but they all seem to stumble at the sight of them waiting patiently by the window. It was as if death had been waiting for him, and if James thought about it long enough – he had escaped death and this person had saved him from it all.
He wasn’t exactly sure how to feel.
“What is your name?” the figure asks, though it is a little weird for James since it seems like it echoes from the room and the surrounding walls rather than coming directly from their mouth. Probably more witchcraft at play, but caged and without a left arm there wasn’t much he could in this situations
“Bucky,” he answers back, giving that old childhood nickname to protect himself.
“What kind of awful name is Bucky?” the figure can’t help but asks as James frowns as he sees one of the bluer fairies giggle at the situations. He is ready to complain that they should do the same, but their hollowed out voice stops him once more, “Morgana.”
He tests out the name on the tip of his tongue, as they stand up straighter than before, “Where am I exactly?”
“The outskirts of Hadria,” the figure states without missing a beat.
At the sound of that statement, James can’t help but think that he would be better off dead than in enemy territory.
It’s one of those easier days, where there is no real audience or events to attend to but there is paperwork – there is always paperwork to look over. So Queen Natasha allows herself the small venture of going into the gardens at the center of the castle. A light table and chair are placed near the water fountain that her husband used to write about all the time in their letter exchanges.
“For you, mama!” Jamie giggles as she places a bouquet of all different types of flowers on the front of the little desk. A grin blossoms on her child’s face and it makes her think of someone else for a moment, especially with the bit of dirt at the edge of her cheek.
Sometimes, she felt that Jamie couldn’t have been her child, but Natasha hadn’t been allowed the same freedoms as the little princess had. Jamie was free to run wild, though she had her etiquette and charm when the need be – just like her father.
“Thank you, love,” Queen Natasha smile and takes the bouquet. Jamie grins before running back deeper into the garden grounds and her highness can’t help but frown just a little.
Natasha knew that Jamie talked about having imaginary friends from time to time, especially of a Mr. Cat in the gardens, and she could only hope that she didn’t have a certain other ability from her father’s family as well..
James can’t help but wonder just how close this little room is to the capital city of Hadria. Before he had been abused, he and his men had been between the borderlands so it only made sense that the river would take him deeper into a country, though not the one that he would be happiest to be in. But, if there was a forest, then he still had to be close to the border – Hadria was nothing but farmland except for the capital,
It could all be ravaged and destroyed, except for some fortresses here and there and that had been Bucky’s plan before all this had happened. Now, all he could do was watch the fairies giggle above him, wondering if he could see them or not.
“It’s not like it matters,” the blue with metal wings and a feral smile giggles, “Jacopo is probably going to eat him up anyways.”
James wishes that he could get up from his metal cage and crush the damn fairy in his hands, but he can’t help but wonder who the hell is this Jacopo that everyone keeps mentioning, even “Morgana” had said the name once or twice when they were here. Without much else to do, James sighs and keeps watch of the things hovering above him, completely unaware that a certain green-haired fairy is just confirming her suspicions.
“So, why exactly did you choose to pick him up?”
“You’re really going to give me the cat treatment right now?”
The orange tabby walks away from the scene slowly, as the red-cloaked figure groans. They stared at their bandaged hands before glancing over all the bottled herbs and different colored glasses. They move about for a second before coming to stare at the cat now on the window and taking in all the sun that it could.
They had been saved once by the small animal just like the man upstairs had been. However, they knew that everything magical came with a price if it could be seen the cat would be able to tell that Morgana was frowning. There was a lot of things that they wanted to say, but Jacopo was annoyingly stubborn when he wanted to be, so for now they would stay silent.
“Morgana!” there is a scream of the alias from outside from an all too familiar voice, and all their thoughts were removed from their current guest and that the potion in front of them had to be completed for the customer.
But, what the hell was Jacopo planning?
James wonders if they drug him or if it has to do something with the metal contraption on the upper half of his body. He sleeps for hours on end and he has lost count of how many days and nights had passed since he had first met the witch, but he noticed why he should be in pain in never really drove him mad with the pain and agony that should come from nearly losing your arm, Bucky had seen it happen one. Nor had he really been hungry, but he also hadn’t been able to move since he had first woken up.
All he could do was stare at the ceiling and it was slowly driving him mad – so he screamed.
James wasn’t sure if the response was quick because he didn’t hear any frantic footsteps, but he did feel a bit of satisfaction over the fairies jumping and running out the window. He couldn’t help but smile just a bit at that, as the door burst open.
“What the hell?” Morgana remarks, though Bucky still isn’t quite sure how he can hear them through all the bandages covering their face. They run to check up on him and orange blur at their feet, but Bucky can’t crash his forehead into theirs like the last time. Instead, he waits and looks for an opening.
“What have you been doing to me?” Bucky growls out and at the mention of that Morgana’s shoulders seem to slump in relief, like it isn’t a big deal. They undo some of the straps of the metal brace that has been holding his body together, which allows Bucky to sit just a bit, before going to sit on the little rocking chair near the window.
“Leaves,” is all Morgana does to answer his questions and concern, and without any visual reaction Bucky can’t tell if they are being mean or just sarcastic, “But, you should better ask the one that saved you out of the damn river.”
Bucky stares at the cloaked figure in confusion before they move their head towards the tabby sitting on the table. There is a moment of silence and Bucky wonders what they are waiting for. It’s then that he hears it.
“It is an honor to finally meet you, Prince Bucky,” the orange tabby declared in a deep voice with standing straight and Bucky can’t help but stare at it with his mouth hung out, as if trying to understand what exactly was going – through deep down he did, it was just like when he was a child, “I have heard of your fights with our current king and his army, I am impressed.”
Bucky doesn’t know how to react towards such a compliment from such a creature, but Morgana breaks the silence since they had been silently seething for a while.
“Prince?” Morgana exclaims as they both turn to look at her. It’s a stare down between the three of them, all magical in their own way before Bucky chooses to break the silence.
“The cat can talk?” Bucky finally manages to speak as he stares at the orange tabby. Said animal simply lounges on the tabletop, as Morgana simply groans before getting up and leaving the room.
Fuking royalty. That’s what he chooses to mess with this time, is all he can hear Morgana complain as she closes the door. Bucky wishes he could move better at that moment and follow them out instead of sitting there.
“You must forgive Morgana,” the cat keeps moving forward with his speech as wide blue eyes watch him, “She’s tempestuous at best with new people–”
“Yes,” Jacopo stretches out for a moment before moving across the room and jumping onto the bed, “and she has been my guardian and me, her only family for quite some time.”
“Good for you?” Bucky comes in with a question, unsure where this could all be going but it can’t be any good when it involved fae creatures like he is sure the cat –Jacopo?– is.
“Thank you,” the orange creature goes on without a care in the world for Bucky’s weariness, “But, I saved you out of the river for one important thing actually.”
“And what would that be?” Bucky answers back, a bit more cautious than before.
“What would you be willing to do to stop the war between your country and Hadria?”
Bucky straighten up and blue eyes meet brown ones and he learned a bit closer than before.
“And what would a fae creature what with that?”
Jacopo lets out a sinister purr and Bucky has to remind himself that everything comes with a cost when it comes to anything magical – I mean, look at Morgana. However, what else could be –a potential cripple– do now?
It was only a matter of time before he came to realize what Jacopo truly had planned for him when he saved Bucky out of the river, but by then it was too late – though that’s was for another time.
The king is a good king. He treats his people kindly since the war had ended and tries his hardest to listening to all of their concerns, going to each corner of the country to talk to each villager and nobleman. The king is kind and benevolent and loved by all, so much unlike his predecessor.
However, the king is always searching and looking for the one thing that was sacrificed to win the war -- wondering if he could ever find it again and pay for his misdeeds.
It’s a lost cause, Queen Natasha can’t help but think as she watches Princess Jamie grow older and older each day.
“I think you should start packing up,” is what one of the villagers that come to pick up medicine from your little cottage tells you one day, “They’re saying the army is coming back this way, that they are getting slaughtered.”
Brown skin sparkles in the summer daylight as you stare at the man, he gives you a worried smile almost like you were his own relative. You simply nod --through the glamour spell that put on when selling-- and place the last five cloves in a bag before handing it too him. You can’t help but wonder to think if he would say the same thing if he knew what you really looked like -- bandages and blood that is always seeping out, wounds that never seem to heal.
Demon child, witch, devil’s spawn.
All things you have heard in your brief childhood within the human world before you had been thrown into the river before you had been stabbed and set on fire -- that and so much more before Jacopo had managed to find you. The creatures and land had shown you more kindness than most people had, so when you look at those worried brown eyes of Samuel and countless before him -- you are currently aware how they could snap and change all in an instant.
You smile, as best and awkwardly, as you can before saying, “We’ll see.”
Samuel frowns and says nothing more as he goes back the way he came -- two miles down the road from the nearest town-- as you wait until he leaves. You close the shutter doors to the window and lock it up before letting go of the spell.
In the darkness, you can’t help but sigh at the sight of your bandaged hands.
Morgana doesn’t show up for two days after leaving the room, though Bucky is sure that he can hear them moving about downstairs. The room is silent, though he can hear the buzzing of the fairies up above him, as if they had been tasked to both watch and annoy (Nebula more than Gamora) him when neither Morgana or Jacopo --who hadn’t shown up since the night before-- were around. James couldn’t help but wonder if they had done this before, if they messed with people’s lives but spiriting them away, but Prince James had already been declared dead for quite some time now--
--Jacopo had told him that and so much more, of things that James didn’t even understand yet and others that he knew were needed if he wanted to go back and defeat Hadria and get his revenge -- on all those people that betrayed and threw away their cause for a few gold coins.
But, in his current state, armless and barely held together, he wasn’t sure how he would do that.
“So, you’re the screws are on right now?” he hears a voice, heavy and annoyed, talks as loudly as possible. He hears a small murmur and he can tell it's Morgana from how the fairies begin to hover around the door, something that they don’t do with the cat.
“Yes, he is perfectly fine to keep moving forward with the procedure,” Morgana answers back a bit calmer than before as blue eyes widen at the sight of a talking raccoon in a dark cloak carrying a bag around its body. The small thing frowns as he stares at James before jumping onto the bed and taking a look at the steel around his arm.
James is struck speechless as the raccoon takes out some tools, though he swears that both the fairies and Morgana are laughing at him. The animal frowns before looking at James.
“You just gotta make things more complicated, huh?” the thing huffs out as Morgana takes a seat.
“What’s wrong, Roc?” they ask, as Roc --Rocket as he hears Gamora whisper in his ear-- and the small beast begins to take out very sharp objects that even through all of James time on the battlefield, sends a chill down his spine.
“The metal is eroding the bone,” Rocket explains with a muffled groan, as he takes out a clear blue liquid and hooks a needle and bag into it. James starts moving further and further away from Rocket, but that is soon stopped with a soft flicker of his furry paw and James glows green for just a moment.
“Look, kid. Prince, whoever you are,” Roc begins to explain, “Either I take that arm off and replace it or the metal is gonna seep into ya blood and drive you mad unless you want that sort of thing.”
“NO!” James yells as Morgana leans into the small chair from before. They seem ready to enjoy the show and if he could Bucky would send them into a world of hurt --and he plans to later on when he is free and able...them, the cat, and the raccoon are all on his shit list now after Rumlow-- but for now, he is at their mercy.
“Good,” Rocket remarks and without hesitation jams the needle into Bucky’s thigh, which causes the poor prince to scream as Nebula lets out a cackle.
Morgana in their red cloak keeps standing watch, like death as Bucky keeps his blue eyes on them the entire time. The room starts to spin and Bucky feels his body start to slump down as he sees a little brown creature jumps onto Rocket’s shoulder.
James wants to scream and destroy everything in sight as the medicine runs his blood a boiling hot temperature, but at the aftereffect begins to slowly take hold. The last thing he sees is Morgana’s eyes sparkle at the sight of magic before them like it’s the first time all over again, and for a brief second, he is able to calm down and sleep in blissful darkness. At least, until Rocket starts the actual procedure.
Not too far away, there is a dark shadow lurking, watching as the soldiers march to and fro into the forest from their latest defeat -- Rumlow betraying them had been a blow, but Prince James dying had destroyed morale completely. King George wasn’t sure what to do with only one male heir left -- send him out to war or keep him safe and go on his own.
“Prince, what do you plan on doing next?” a lankier soldier with black hair and brown eyes that worked his own magic of changing the size of his body asked, as blue eyes comb the forest which was closer to Hadria than his own homeland -- but, he had to keep going...it would be what Bucky would have wanted.
“We keep the attack moving forward,” the blond man states with much authority as his voice can muster. He looks at his small group -- a witch, an archer, a shapeshifter, and the mechanical man and he can’t help but wonder if Bucky would be mad at him at the moment -- he always hated magical things after Queen Winnie had passed away.
For his country, Prince Steve would do what he must and gather whoever wanted to help in the long run -- and the creature, now small and fuzzy, runs back into the night.
Chapter 5: down the riverbed.
The king is always looking for the thing, the person he had lost.
The king had been a foolish man in his youth and he paid for it in many ways. Now, as he grew older he sought atonement for all the things that he had done -- but somethings are easy to repent or get forgiveness person.
Somethings fester and drag on for the rest of your days, he remembers a familiar someone saying once.
And when he sees a familiar forest, all that guilt and remorse come rushing forward once more.
What would they think of him now?
You hear them on the edge before anything else. The rust of metal and wood burns your nose as you inhale the smell from the little pot you are seeing them through. You can feel the all too familiar steel on your neck like it had happened once or twice before, as fire licks at the tips of your bandages and cloak. You want to scream but the vision ends all too soon for that to happen, as you let out a breathe you were holding and slump into the wooden chair.
You had three...four days at the most before the army came through here once more. However, this time they were running from the defeat that had easily been thrown at them -- it seemed like moral was up for now due to a mix of things that you didn’t really care about it.
Your survival mattered above all else.
“Have to get moving,” you sigh out in a mix of weariness and annoyance.
It had been a long time since you to pack and move, you had almost gotten complacent in such a place where the people kept their distance until they needed something from you. It had been nice for a time, but with the Hadrian army coming this way back around.
Well, as you felt the burned markings on your shoulder and upper body, you knew that you had to leave. The only problem was the thing upstairs that you had to deal with now.
The next time he wakes up Bucky doesn’t feel anything on his chest, though there is a subtle burning and heaviness where his arm once was -- and there is an arm now, but a bit different from before. He wants to scream, rip the thing away from him and never see it again. He wants to scream, but it ends up getting stuck in his throat as he lets out a choked sob.
He was Prince James, heir to the throne and feared warrior, -- how could he have ended up like this?
Morgana. Jacopo. Rumlow.
Those names seethe in his head as he grits his teeth together. These are the people that had betrayed and taken his body to do whatever they wanted with it. James thought back to what Jacopo had told around the time he had first gotten here, though he didn’t know how much time had passed since then, and remembered what this was all for and what might be the end of it all. However, it all lead to the same conclusion--
He was a puppet, a deformed puppet to play to some sick part.
However, that didn’t mean he had to make it easy for anyone of them.
Bucky knows Morgana is there before they open the door. He has slowly gotten used to their steady steps and jarring opening of the door before he even heard them breathing, it was a little odd but everything was odd in this damn place.
He watches them step in, but is taken off guard when their red cloak is missing and replaced with a tight long-sleeve that give way to their bandages and pants. Their face is still covered but this time with a long dark scarf that loops around their whole head and he notices that there is a bag on their side.
He is surprised over a lot of things at the moment, but he chooses to keep to himself for now: “What’s going on?”
“We need to leave,” Morgana explains after pulling their scarf down to show their bandages once more, “The Hadrian army is retreating this way and they are taking everything they want on the way.”
“Wait, what?” Bucky can’t help but gasp as Morgana begins to pull him up and proceeds to look around the room in a hurry. They pull out a dark corner of the room and look through it, “How did this happen?”
“I don’t know the details but the reinforced army won around to days ago,” Morgana explains as Bucky just sits there, “A prince and more soldiers came from the capital, or so I have been told. Completely destroyed them in the name of their fallen comrade.”
Morgana’s eyes meet his and in the moment he thinks that they might know more than they let on, but he really isn’t the position to ask anything.
“I do not wish to be here when the army comes to pillage its own people,” they state darkly, like they know too well, “So, get up and get ready. We leave in an hour.”
Morgana finishes rummaging through the bag and throws it at him before turning and heading out of the room. Bucky sits there for a good while, slowly realizing that Morgana has let him on his own in an empty room but with an open door.
He could easily get up and leave, try to run and get his revenge on Rumlow but as blue eyes glance at his new arm...he pauses. Instead, Bucky gets up and looks around the room once and twice, seeing if there is anything that he can pick and call his own before going downstairs.
There are a lot of things running through his head and a list of things that he has to do, but right now isn’t the time for all that. Right it is best to follow Morgana and see what they do next --- Bucky just needs to bid his time, so thank goodness he is more patient than Steve ever could be.
Leaving means going through the backdoor and watching in some magical way Morgana make the home smaller to fit into their pocket and running through the forest without anything in front of him but pure darkness.
“Is this really the safest path to be going through?” he can’t help but ask as he trips over another vine, but Morgana seemed to have the uncanny ability to dodge whatever came their way.
They stops and he swears that they turn to look at him, as Bucky swears that he sees Nebula and Gamora at their side once more, but the confused tone in their voice: “You really don’t see it, do you?”
James can’t help but feel angry at what they were trying to imply -- that him as a great soldier could be missing something within the forest. He takes a deep breath and grabs his new arm as if to build a wall between them.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that,” they step a bit closer as he can tell from the sound of their footsteps, “Close your eyes, take a deep breathe, and stop denying the gift you have if you want to live , Bucky.”
The faint fairy glow deepens the sight of their bandages and gives their eyes a darker hue, but he can tell they are completely serious -- he had almost died when Rumlow has ambushed him before, Bucky needed any advantage that he could have. So he follow their steps with a bit of skepticism and stands there for a moment. A fire burns in his left shoulder and warms up his body, like being touched by a fireplace after being caught in the rain.
They should be running but instead they are standing in the middle of nowhere as Morgana begins to chant something and though he may not understand it, Bucky knows what they are supposed to evoke.
Witch, is all he can really think as she finishes her brief chant and that when he opens his eyes -- and nothing but pure, soft light welcome him.
It’s everywhere, dimmer in some areas but Bucky can tell that it all belongs to the forest and its inhabitants, though there are also feral sounds here and there. He could only attribute that to the army and they being there -- the forest and its creatures were ready to protect themselves if need be. Blue eyes roam in awe for a good second, as he slowly makes his was up to looking back at Morgana.
“Welcome back to the world of the living,” they --she?-- teases him before turning around and following the two fairies once more. Bucky wants to say something, ask so many things but being quiet would help them cover more ground.
“ Oh, you look shocked,” Nebula giggles besides his ear as he keeps walking without a word and staring at Morgana’s back the whole time, “Who exactly did you see?”
Blue eyes look at the fairy at the corner of his eyes for just a second, knowing that she was taunting him and there was a lot more to all this than he knew, than what Jacopo had told.
I hate the fairy world, he can’t help but think bitterly as he can’t help but think that Natasha’s green eyes --those that he had seen just a few moments ago on Morgana-- didn’t match the hue of their eye color he had seen this entire time.
So, why the hell did Morgana look like his betrothed underneath those bandages?
Chapter 6: faces, faces.
The stranger enters the kingdom at the dead of night. He doesn’t know why or how he has come out of his slumber, but it could never be a good thing. Broken magic never brought anything good to him or his loved ones. So, he keeps moving and walking until he reaches the corner of the town with the castle at the end.
He wants to wander and see how things have changed over the years, but that isn’t the most important thing right now. He looks at the guards. He shakes his head before waving the shimmering silver underneath his cloak. He ends up in the middle of the dark throne room.
He looks around, lost in memory, before he looks up to see a certain red-haired queen with a palm full of fire held out to him. There is a grim smile on her face and for a moment, he can’t help but grin -- though not because of her, but over a memory and the irony of it all .
" I will only ask you once,” she states, royal and fierce at the same time, “Who are you, fae?”
The man can’t help but laugh as he takes for his cloak, “It’s good to see you again, Natasha.”
Queen Natasha stands there, frozen and for the second time in her life, unsure of what to do.
It’s a lie that Bucky doesn’t look around with a look of wonder here and there as they move deeper into the forest. He sees more things that are around the fairies’ size, as they swivel around the darkness. Plants and trees move about as Morgana touches them, as if they all know to stay out of her way. They are still wearing Natasha’s face as they enter a small clearing.
It’s something that is still bothering Bucky even after hours of walking around.
How can they do that? What cursed creature were they?
“Is something bothering you?” they ask now, back to wearing they bandages and red cloak as they walk around the small pond for a moment. They wave their hands around for a second as the water comes dancing into the brown pouch they’ve been carrying.
Bucky watches entranced for a moment as he looks up: “How do you look like her?”
“Magic lets me play with a person’s heart,” they remark vaguely as they cap the brown pouch.
“Don’t you have your own face?” Bucky frowns as Morgana takes a sit next to him. They tilt their head in thought before shrugging the question off.
“Maybe,” is how they answer before laying down on the ground, “But, neither you or the rest of the world need to see that.”
Their eyes glow from blue to green and settle on their regular plain color before they turn away. Morgana leans into the grass, stretching out before curling into their cloak. Go to sleep, is all they manage to say before pulling their cowl over their head completely.
Bucky sits there more confused than ever, unsure of how to sleep without bedding or even a tent. He doesn't understand how Morgana can and so easily . Blue eyes look around, wary and cautious of the area that they are in. But, Morgana wouldn’t have stopped here without knowing that they were safe, right?
Bucky leans in and for the first time in a long time, ends up looking at the stars for most of the night. It takes him some time before he finally ends up falling asleep.
It takes three days and nights on foot to reach whatever part of Hadrian, you are leading Bucky and your fairies to. You had already heard the whispers and anger of the forest that both armies had left the area. Or least they were going in the same direction that your little group was going in.
“How much farther?” a voice behind echoes its annoyance once more. You want to roll your eyes, but keep marching forward, not answering back.
In your short time together within the forest, you were slowly starting to realize that Bucky played the part of annoying and pampered prince quite well . He was slowly getting used to the fae-side of things and how you could prepare meals and check if things were poisonous, as he watched from afar .
“Not much,” you finally decide to answer back as you push past a bush.
You hear him pause for a moment as his heavy steps stop. You already know what he is going to do and you wait for the noise once more--
“Hey, wait!” the prince tells out as the silver arm of his --with a mind of its own, thanks to Rocket-- pushes past the brush.. It destroys everything in its way as you catch a blur of brown and black zipping ahead of you.
Bucky drops to the ground and you plus the Nebula can’t help but laugh.
It is midday when you make it through the last large patch of grass. You're met with the sight of a large red and brown cottage. It almost looks like the one you had been in a few days ago, but even Bucky could feel it lightly . The magic was stronger and darker in this area of the woodlands.
The two of you walk to the entrance of the little home, only to see a familiar orange cat. Bucky frowns as you kneel down for a moment and pet the tabby. It’s good to see you again, you murmur to the cat softly before getting up once more
“I’ll make sure the wards are working and make some dinner,” you remark as you head inside the red cottage. You turn to Bucky and nod, as he stands there unsure of what is going on now.
“Good luck, prince,” is all you say before you close the door. Bucky sees the candles lit up on the lower level as you move about. You're already ignoring what is going on outside as Jacopo comes closer to him.
Blue eyes meet green eyes as the fairies hover about them, as the dusk begins to sink in. Bucky isn’t sure was is going to happen next, but he can’t help but wonder if how much you know about Jacopo’s plan in the long run. And if you were a willing participant in it.
For now, it seemed like him and the cat were going to start his promised training.