Chapter 1: Embers Of A Memory
The word repeated over and over in his mind. He never dreamt, not really...Hydra made sure of that. Only vast darkness and weightlessness that consumed him. Until a sound would stir him...a soft laugh and what felt like a warm breeze. A memory? No...it had to be a figment of his imagination; though he believed he couldn't conjure up something as lovely as this...as her. He never knew her until he was forced back into the darkness. He was weary of her in the beginning, keeping a watchful distance from the girl that would change ever so slightly in his dreams. He wasn’t sure when the visions started or even why they began, but they left him breathless within himself. He could never express it, never mention it...never mention her. The girl in the depths of his contorted mind...soft, and unreachable. She had first come in the form of a whisper, a gentle pleading for him to wake up, but he would only come out of consciousness in a room of doctors and guards; quickly reminding him to push away the little whisper that had gently spoken to him. He hadn’t even noticed the faint scent of roses until his senses filled with the sterile scent of the lab he would awake in. He had no memory of knowing pleasure before this vast comatose of weighted darkness, but he always felt something inside of him sting upon being ripped away from what he assumed...was her scent.“
There were moments of conscious when his mind would seek out her scent upon returning from a mission. Apart of him wanted to go back under, to be with her. She was an Omega, he gathered that much from her nature towards him. He didn’t deserve the way she would reach out to him, happy and carefree. He was weary to touch her, afraid to wake...and afraid that she had been implanted by Hydra as a way to gain better leverage over him. But they couldn't create something good, someone gentle. She never seemed dejected when he would stand away from her, leaning away from the small hand that would be outstretched to him. Her smile would be sad, never reaching her eyes...that pleaded for him to know her. Though she never verbally expressed his disappointment in his distance, he saw it in the way that she would move away from him...not long before he would be forced awake.
It was a mixture of annoyance and curiosity that had built up within him to finally will himself to reach out for her. That’s when he realized they weren’t memories...a part of him ached in knowing that she hadn’t been real; she froze in his grip on her forearm, holding her in place while he studied her more closely. She reminded him of sunshine, her skin felt as soft as rose petals, the scent that had only grown stronger in each comatose cage. Though her appearance resembled Fall. The soldier couldn’t help but enjoy that contrast of her presence against his...whispers of Fall with figments of a false Spring that he gladly allowed in the depths of his mind. Cold and isolating...Winter. Brief glimpse and flickers of long red hair that would trail past her waist, pale skin that was dusted with freckles and patchy colors of tan skin pigments. Some darker than others and spread out in nine patches over her small form; vitiligo. He didn’t understand how he knew this information, let alone how it was vital to the girl that he held in place. She never wavered against his vice grip, never whimpered or attempted to pull away. She simply stared back into his eyes, burnt orange with tinges of blue that had consumed him. Her physical attributes were so unnatural and otherworldly, he must’ve made her of what he could only assume was desire and lovelessness. She couldn’t be of flesh and blood; if she was...he would make certain to keep away from her. God help her if she was real...
He hardly took notice of scents in his consciousness, hers...always roused him gently. He had welcomed it, he had begun to welcome her. Even in being an Alpha, he had been reprogrammed to not register any forms of pleasures; satisfaction was related to having free will...and even as her scent would fill his senses, he found he had no free will even against the girl who came to him so sweetly...her presence felt like sunshine upon his skin. He relished and ached in her control over him. It was an Omega’s duty to soothe their Alpha...she was the only comfort he knew. The ebbing of red waves...copper: long and soft as he ran his fingers through them, the vision would stop as soon as the curled tips of red hair would reveal the metal hand...he didn’t deserve to touch her; disgust filled him. Clenching his fist tightly, his teeth grinding together as he clicked his jaw. Her soft tendrils of hair, quickly turning into red smoke as it formed into the skull of his captors; laced with tentacles. A reminder...a warning. Hydra.
They would only consume her, tear her apart in front of him. Take away the only glimmer of what he imagined to be happy to be. She had become his only satisfaction, a treat that he longed for, often doing best to accomplish his missions so he could dive back into his slumber. Back into her arms that he had allowed to wrap around him now. The fear of them taking her...it triggered something animalistic inside of him, his grip would tighten on her. She must’ve known he was afraid...Omega’s could always sense when their Alpha felt threatened. It was predictable now, his waking. She would whisper to him, reminding him that she would always be here, waiting for him. Her fingers running through his dark locks as he would dive into the crook of her neck. Her scent was comforting to him as he would rub his nose against her bonding mark, untouched and waiting for him to claim...she would scratch his scalp gently. Lightly tugging him closer to her as he felt the dread of leaving her for toil and bloodshed.
He was becoming possessive, he was becoming unstable. If he didn’t want to leave...he didn’t want to let her go. The agony of waking without her, in a room filled with only those to force his natural Alpha to submit for Hydra’s cause; never knew of the girl that would come to him. She was his secret, and through the years of being wiped and reprogrammed...somehow the faint scent of roses would drift back to him. Softly, and gently. Pleading for him to wake up...to remember her.
His...she was his… “Mega...” a frantic whisper that would blare in the depths of his heart. They couldn’t take her away from him if he forced her away, far away from them, Hydra. Was she real?
The visions would shift from the soft scent of roses...to blood. Was it her blood? Had he hurt her? Frantic, he was frantic to get to her, to save her. He didn’t know from what...he could only feel the weight of her limp body in his arms, as he tried to shake her...pleading for her to look at him, to open her eyes. Could he find her?
Her hair...her hair was like fire, how he would rather that flame consume him. Bury his face deep within the crook of the neck the copper waves nestled upon that she kept shifted to one side of her body...He needed to find her.
A soft giggle...melodic. He never realized how painful the silence within his shattered mind was till he would be left with the echo of a sound that only pulled at his heart. She was waking him up in the morning? Somewhere far away, warm and safe. A place of privacy in the cage of his arms as she wished him a good morning...
Mega...she was a sweet Omega...young, soft, and fresh...like the flowers that were weaved into her hair. He didn’t know how or when...but she was his.
She was all he had...he couldn’t let them take her away from him. She had lost control of something...as to what, he didn’t know. So he held her close to him, reminding her that she was alright, safe, and not going to harm anyone: including him.
Nine...the patches of skin that were blotched over her body. Uneven and wild...a condition? A beautiful one. He needed to be near her again, his Omega...the only one that could soothe him.
The briefest moments of gentle touches to his face, a pale hand that he would lean into...only to fade away with her lingering scent...Roses? She felt like home to him.
They wouldn’t take her from him. Even if she was just a figment of his mind...she was all he had left. He would come back to her...just for one moment in what he felt was a dream. Was it a dream? Memories? Or foreshadowing? He couldn’t linger on it...linger on her.
He never knew her...until he was forced back into the darkness.
It felt like coming home, it felt like Spring in the dead of winter…
She was his flower, in his hell.
The reader introduces three important people in her life.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Your eyes fluttered open, you couldn’t stop the smile that crept onto your face while you enjoy the soft peaks and yellows that glinted in your bedroom. You must’ve left your bedroom window open again, as you enjoyed the soft chill of the morning that brushed over your skin as you adjusted. You yawned, stretching out your long limbs in your small bedroom, making sure to knock over the ungodly amount of pillows that you had filled your nest with; at least four softly plopped onto your bedroom floor. You glanced over to your clock that sat on the bedside table, though you knew in your bones that it was 6:30 am, it was always nice to have confirmation. You hated being late to anything...but it helped to be an early riser.
Though this wasn’t home, per se...it was still lovely to have a room full of sunshine. Pepper had chosen a room that was faced with sunlight, hoping that it would lift your spirits as you adjusted into your new life. She had told you to apply any aesthetic and decor you found ideal in your small apartment; you thought it best to test your abilities while having a bit of fun in shaping your apartment into what has resembled your previous home in Ireland. It was strenuous at first, but after a long meditation and many failed practices, you had slowly began to turn the plain white apartment, into the cozy woodland nest that you had called home.
You smiled fondly to yourself, remembering the day you had finally finished getting the entire apartment finished; with the help of Nat...of course. The three of you had spoken separately to one another about Romanoff becoming your trainer, though Pepper hoped that a friendship could evolve. she was polite enough...a hint of mischief that was lingering in her smirk as she would navigate through the few social gatherings you had seen one another. She was always gentle towards you, cautious and caring towards how fragile you were at this time...you didn’t admit it outwardly, but for a female Alpha...Natasha was an exception. Pepper was scheming for you both to hit it off…Pepper knew that you needed guidance and she felt especially guilty that she couldn’t be there to walk you through your rehabilitation. Nat would gain a friend and provide you with the training to become a different person...a different Omega. Pepper was anxious to see what you had done with the place, but due to her schedule, she had decided to send Natasha over to check on your periodically.
You had been distant in the beginning, only opening the door for small chit chat. Nat would smile at you, seeing the beads of sweat on your forehead and strained breathing. “Good work out?” She asked lightly. You shook your head while staying glued to the door, a sign that you did not want her to come into your space...she knew. Pepper had mentioned that you would most likely isolate yourself for a while, it was expected after such a great loss in your life; the new transition of moving into the Avenger’s tower would likely scramble anyone’s life. She wasn’t surprised or offended, she was just glad you hadn’t slammed the door in her face during her check-ups with you. You had paused at her question for too long, seeing her wait patiently for a reply as to why you looked like a trash bag that had been run through a washing machine, you finally used your voice. Which was horse from lack of use as you avoided the Alpha’s gaze. “Pepper had mentioned I should decorate my room…” you trailed off, glancing up to see Nat’s eyes glimmer with curiosity. “I thought I should kill two birds with one stone and attempt to practice some shape-shifting magic. It saves money and it allows me to work on my skills…” You smiled, finally releasing your grip on the front door as Nat smiled at you; thrilled you had finally shared something with her other than polite conversation; this was a good sign for you and a huge step in your social skills.
"What's your favorite color?" She asked as she looked at the selection of paint swatches you had chosen from cream to earth tones of earthy browns and soft greens. You bustled around Natasha, holding a large basket with an ungodly amount of blankets in it, she raised an eyebrow at you with a smirk. "Green, or burnt orange." You replied, deadpanned. Natasha was thrown off by the orange comment, looking back to the color samples, "Please don't paint one of these rooms orange. Our hair is enough for the whole damn building." She laughed, watching you leave the room with the overflowing basket. You had caved to Pepper's constant need to buy you a house warming present and requested a select few throw blankets with Celtic knots to place strategically through the apartment. "Did you spend money?" Nat asks, glancing towards the basket you set on the floor. She crossed her arms over her chest, knowing you were too much of a penny pincher to treat yourself to something; though you were known to indulge in a hefty amount of fruit...If memory served well, Nat recalled you eating a dozen plums in one setting. Your pause was enough to give her an answer. "I cannot believe you let Pep buy you something! and you won't even let me buy you a damn coffee!" She barked, you let the basket drop to the floor unceremoniously, a comically thunk following in suite with a well-placed eyeroll on your end. "Your friendship is a gift in itself!" Now it was her turn to roll her eyes at you. "Didn't you say you had wallpaper back in your old place?" Nat asked, coming to help you unload what looked like at least eight blankets.
"Yeah...why? do you doubt my painting skills?" Nat eyed you before walking away. "You can barely do your eyebrows, I'm not trusting you with a paintbrush!" You recalled the memory of Nat trying to help you with your makeup, after feeling uncomfortable from the constant glances of strangers who had no clue about your skin condition; You couldn't be mad at the strangers...Vitiligo wasn't too well known, most people assumed you had a freak accident with a tanning bed. In reality, your condition had worsened over time, and you had never noticed it much. Until going out with Nat for the first time, you realized how strange you must have looked next to her... Nat was sleek and put together, a perfect combination of femininity and strength. Whereas you...were wild-looking, otherworldy, and stuck out like a sore thumb You had been so excited when she offered to help you tame your wild mess of hair. Though plucking your eyebrows had been hell on earth for the both of you. You smiled, remembering how insane you looked upon attempting your makeup, Nat didn't even bother to hold back the laughter as you both stared in horror at the caterpillar eyebrows you had drawn on yourself. After scrubbing your face for what felt like 30 minutes, you both sat together with a cup of tea, as you boldly declared you would accept yourself...because the alternative of makeup was a fucking clown face version of yourself.
You glanced back towards your bedroom, deciding that you would focus your magic on what resembled your old home... Nat didn't speak much to you in the early days of you testing out your abilities. She would watch fondly as you worked to shift the foundation of an object or space to your will. You told her it was like lifting a fridge by yourself...that you often felt as if you wouldn't be able to bend something to your liking; that you were weak. But she would encourage you, pushing you to keep trying to you got the result you wanted. Sure, you were changing your damn apartment with fucking magic...talk about a weird concept! But it was a safe space for you, a way to step into the pool and see how far the ripple effect could go. You shifted the walls of your bedroom to a dark forest green, the soft outline of wildflowers fading into the walls after failing at least, three times. Before turning to Nat, who looked proudly at you. Smiling at your color choice. "I like it." Your memory of finishing your room faded, as you heard a soft knock at the front door.
It couldn't have been Nat...she was off on a mission with Clint...you briefly remember the word, Budapest being thrown around before they left?
Pepper was always heading for a meeting this early in the morning or managing whatever her husband, Tony, had fucked up. (He did that a lot, based on Peppers rants about her insufferable Alpha husband...who she adored. Even though her blistering annoyance towards him.)
Before reaching the door, you smiled. You knew who was on the other side...and you were thrilled! The scent of fresh oranges filled you as you reached for the doorknob; you didn't need to glance through the peephole to know that your favorite Omega. "Hey loser!" you smiled, throwing your arms out to wrap around Peter, who was surprised by your hug attack, but laughed as you crashed into him.
You released him, quickly placing your hands on his baby face as he glared at you. "Oh my god, you're still so small!" moving away to gesture at his whole body. The leer on his face towards you said it all. "You know, for an Omega, you're the meanest girl I've ever met. And here I am! coming to hang out with you...and this is how I'm treated?" Peter's expression becoming wounded, as he dramatically held his hand over his heart, acting as if your teasing had finally thrown him over the edge. You playfully punched him in the shoulder, "Get over it! you gotta toughen up if you're gonna work with the big leagues!" Standing tall as you beamed at who you considered to be your adopted brother.
Pepper had introduced you after moving into the tower, explaining that Peter was like you, an Omega that Tony had taken under his wing. You had been wary of meeting Peter, you hadn't even met Tony upon moving to the tower, (Pepper suggested that you shouldn't meet any male Alpha's till you had recovered from your trauma, Tony agreed after Pepper had informed him of what you had gone through before coming to the States...something you were not ready to fully discuss in its entirety with anyone for a very long time).
But like Natasha, Peter was bound to become your friend...hell, your family. "If you're done torturing me, I thought we could go skating?" He suggested you beamed at the idea. When you first met the male Omega, he had come to you often, hoping that you both could become friends quickly; it could be suggested that he had ulterior motives...He was thrilled that you and he had been taken in by Tony and Pepper, he also heard from Pepper that you were talented in History...which he desperately needs help within school. He would try to make small talk with you whenever you finally came out of your apartment and into the downstairs lobby; going to make yourself a cup of tea. He was awkward, even from across the room. He would say hello to you, which caught you off guard, but you replied quietly before heading off to your apartment. After a week's worth of small hellos and awkward waves from Peter, you were surprised to see a steaming cup of tea waiting for you, sitting in the dark cobalt teacup, constellations in gold painted onto the porcelain; a gift from Tony that you deeply appreciated.
You planned on meeting with Tony soon to thank him but instead looked to an anxious Peter, who glinted hope in his eyes as he watched you eye him from across the hall. "You only ever drink tea...I-I-Thought that maybe, if you wanted, we could get something other then tea? together?" When he wasn't fidgeting with his fingers, he had run his hands through his messy hair. He had only held eye contact with you for a brief moment before looking at anything in the room. You raised an eyebrow at him, suddenly aware that his entire presence was the polar opposite of an Alpha, you felt...like a jerk, suddenly. You had been so wrapped up in isolating yourself, that you didn't even consider that people reaching out to you might have good intentions. You knew Peter had been picked by Tony, and even though you were still anxious to meet Pepper's husband, deep in your bones that the people that had welcomed you here, had both good intentions and hearts; if they had chosen to let Peter into this world of helping others, then Peter was clearly someone to invest in.
The kid had taken the time to make you tea...it might taste bad because making tea was an art form that you prided yourself upon...but the action was sweet and rather brave on his end to reach out to a girl he hardly knew. You couldn’t believe you had judged Peter, simply based on the assumption that he was an Alpha because he was a male; you felt like a hypocrite. You hated it when others had assumed you were an Omeg...it’s partly why you had been so cold to everyone in America. You wanted to establish a line between you, and everyone else. The suppressants also allowed you to become a different person, colder and distant. But you couldn’t help but think of your twin, Maddox, as you looked at Peter. He reminded you of Maddie, a nickname you had given your younger brother at an early age. You decided as you looked at the young Omega, that maybe it was a good time to start reconsidering that you shouldn’t hold it against every man, or Alpha you met in your life wasn’t so bad...that your cage was hurting everyone outside of it, not just you.
You approached him slowly, doing your best to brush off the frown that had formed onto your face since you had arrived. You eyed the tea, and reached for it, bringing it to your lips. Peter seemed on edge as he waited for thoughts on both the tea and the suggestion. You paused, setting the cup back down gently, and swallowed with a loud gulp. "First of all, thank you for the tea. Secondly, if you sweat to never make me another cup again for as long as you live...then we can go out and get something." Peter practically fell over with excitement. "Yeah! To-totally! Hey! we could get coffee! do you like skating?" You couldn't help but giggle at his question, "We went from tea to coffee...then skating?" Little did you know, that you and Peter would spend many mornings getting coffee, only to go skating afterward.
It was both fun and a good workout. You were terrible in the beginning, you had tried to avoid Peter helping you, but after falling on your ass for the 30th time in a ten minute span...you caved. Accepting his help, while he told you about himself. He explained that he didn't have many friends, said for a guy named Ned. He told you that he was working hard to impress Mr. Stark, that he couldn't wait to become an Avenger. You admired his work ethic, managing a normal life on top of his goals to become a member of the team. It had finally turned to your turn in the conversation, as you both sat down on a bench near the Avenger's tower. Peter was curious about how you met Pepper, came to be where he was...training and hoping to help others.
Before coming to New York, you had worked in a midwife for Omegas in Ireland. You had extensive training in Holistic medicine while you worked in school to receive proper medical training. You had a clean background, though your brothers who shared the same Irish heritage as you could not say the same. Natasha had smiled upon reading about all of the trouble your brothers had gotten into during your childhood, she pictured you to be the image of innocence. Pepper laughed at this, informing Nat that you held your own in multiple reports of bar fights that you never started...but you sure as hell ended. You were the youngest of four brothers, and unlike all of them...you were the only one to inherit your mother's wild red hair; as well as your fraternal twin, Maddox. Who you had not spoken too since leaving Ireland...
You hadn't been watching where you were going, you were internally frustrated that you couldn't block out the emotions of people that you would brush by in the city. You were trying to find anything small...small and hidden to just sit and breathe in. You were overwhelmed with being here, regretting that you had taken Maddox advice of coming to New York; your brother loved to travel, he had always been braver than you. Maddox said the change would be good for you, it would help you discover how far your magic could grow...all you wanted to discover was solace in the small cafe a block away from you. Relief flooded your senses as you smiled warmly at the small shop, there wasn't many people except for a couple in the corner, clearly inraptured in one another's company. A young man, probably a college student, typing on his laptop near the front window of the store.
A woman at the front counter, ordering her drink as she checked her watch, she was dressed smartly...she looked busy, she looked important. As you approached the counter, glancing at the menu across from you, you enjoyed the scent of coffee and scones that wrapped around as you tried to ignore how small you suddenly felt in the big Apple. Another scent caught your attention, lemon, and cinnamon? as you glance back to the woman who looked a little flustered...she didn't appear to be in a rush, but more so frustrated internally. She felt your gaze and turned to you, smiling down towards you as she noticed that you were playing with the long knitted green sleeves of your oversized sweater.
You were anxious, and the woman smiled at you. She didn't seem like an Alpha...you assumed she was a Beta, based on how confident her posture is. You hoped your anxiety didn't reveal that you were an Omega...if you got your emotions in order, maybe you could pass yourself off as a Beta with the help of the suppressants. Maybe, if you were careful, you could try to pull off looking together like the woman beside you."Sorry! I don't mean to be blocking your way, my mind is all over the place." She said cooly, you waved it off and smiled as the cafe worker was busy placing fresh scones in the case, then returning to finishing the order that was ahead of you. "Sorry for the wait Pep!" the worker apologized as she handed the drink to Pepper. She must come here a lot, you thought to yourself. "I'll be with you in just a moment." The worker said sweetly to you.
Pepper watched as you told the worker that it was alright, that you weren't in a rush and, it gave you more time to look at the menu. You looked to Pepper, tilting your head towards the menu, "Have any suggestions?" You asked. You weren't the best with social cues, but you sensed that this woman, Pepper...was looking for a distraction from whatever was going through her mind, and you were looking for an acquaintance; this was a win-win. Pepper's mood had lifted considerably since you took her suggestion of ordering some blood orange tea. She asked you to sit with her if you had the time...you did. You were glad for the company, thinking of how excited your brother would be when you called to tell him that you met someone. Though you quickly dismissed the thought...knowing you were only living in a fantasy of contacting your brother again.
You were concerned you were keeping her away from work, not knowing if she was on her break. She quickly dismissed your fears, assuring you that she had finished her work for the day, though she never really had time to herself. You smiled at her, admiring her work ethic and putting two and two together; that must've played into her frustrations from earlier...or, a partner? It wasn't your place to ask such a personal question this early on into making an acquaintance. That had not stopped Pepper from asking you about your visit to New York. She gestured towards your clothing choice, then complimenting your accent. "You're Irish?" She asked, taking another sip of her honey lemon tea. You could feel the blush creep onto your face, fumbling your fingers together while a small laugh escaped your lips. "That obvious?" you asked, Pepper, sensed the apprehension in your voice and quickly interjected. "Yes! but it's not a bad thing. Ireland is far away...pretty brave of you to come all by yourself. Have a long-distance boyfriend?" she teased, noticing that you slightly choked on your tea before placing it back on the table to respond.
"Mother, Mary, and Joseph! no!" You both chuckled at your reaction, but the air shifted into something serious between the both of you. You knew you had taken to long to respond, you knew it was apparent that you were considering an answer, Pepper picked up on the cues. Whatever you were about to divulge to her, she would take an at face value. She could tell you were out of your element here, hell, she couldn't imagine how she would fair by herself in a place alone; she assumed you didn't have a phone...which only added to her intrigue of why such a pretty young girl like yourself...were traveling alone? brave, and a tad dangerous. Finally, you looked up to her. "I'm just trying to get out more..." Pepper considered your statement, but before she could reply to you, that's when all hell broke loose.
I will add more to this later! I feel it's kinda rushed...but I wanted to establish some of the relationships in the reader's life in modern times, plus their interests and personality.
I do feel it's a bit rushed and needs to be flushed out more.
I will work on it soon :)
Did I mention this is a slow burn?
We'll get to Bucky and the Time travel around chapter four...
HAVE PATIENCE MY LOVES