As far as Brock Rumlow was concerned, fucking off to Alabama was the best idea he'd ever had. It was warm, people weren't trying to kill him all the time, SHIELD thought he was dead, and he was getting to work with horses all day every day, if he wanted too. Brock liked horses and other people liked to say he was good with them. All of this came in handy when he was getting a job at his sister's Living Heritage Farm. Misty was getting government money to fool around with shires, poitevin, and American Creme horses all day and she was paying him to go do the dirty work. As in, he walked behind a rusty plow all day and sang along to the local rock radio. The horses didn't mind. Well, as far as he could tell.
Going by the fact that Jack and Winter weighed over twenty four hundred pounds a pop, Brock figured he was doing good if they just plodded right along. The horses were doing most of the work anyways. All Brock was doing was steering the plow every now and again. The horses pretty much stayed in a straight line and the heavy ground turned over neatly, just like pages in a book. Brock just followed them around, his hands loosely draped over the reins. Jack, the bigger one, started flicking his tail some and started. Brock perked his head up and looked around. Jack was pushing twenty six hundred pounds and, as he was the older one, if he took off, then Winter would follow right after him.
Thankfully, Jack was pretty calm. He just raised his head and neighed. His ears went flat back and he ground to a halt. Winter went maybe a foot more before he, too, ground to a screeching halt. Brock swore under his breath and put his phone up. If there was something nasty out here, say, a teenager who thought he was gonna spook the pretty ponies, Brock needed to know. He didn't see much of anything. That didn't mean there wasn't a threat out there, though. He slipped back into his old training and scratched Jack's flank as he walked around the bigger horse. Jack butted Brock's side, damn near pushing him over. He pushed the horse away some. The last thing he needed to do was get smacked over by an overeager, overgrown pony.
"Knock it off," Brock grumbled. He rolled his eyes some and checked the other side. Winter laid his ears back at him and made a sharp, angry sound. He was younger and wanted to get on with it. Brock rolled his eyes. "Really now? Talk to Jackie and then we can get going."
He cursed again and decided to strip off his shirt. He'd keep the leather gloves, as he didn't want to slice his hands to ribbons, but the shirt he tied around one of braces. The horses neighed at him again. Jack pawed at the ground. He took half a step forwards, but stopped again. The bigger horse tossed his inky black mane. Brock swore under his breath. Something was going on and he wasn't going to chance it. He could finish the job with Mary and Rose. They might be older and slower than the shires, but at least they wouldn't try to spook over nothing. He unhitched the horses and held them in one hand as he texted Misty with the other. Yes, yes, he knew. No texting and plowing, but this was an emergency.
"Really now?" Brock asked. He sighed under his breath and clicked his tongue. Jack neighed louder this time. He half rose on his hind legs and pawed at the air. Winter just stood beside him, only to lean down and start nibbling at the grass. Jack pulled on Winter and really put his weight into it. Brock cursed. He managed to drop Winter's reigns and took Jack around him in a circle. The older, larger horse neighed again. He reared up for real this time and tossed his head. Brock did the best he could, turning the massive, black horse around him in a circle. Jack pulled against the bridle even harder. Brock heard the leather groan. He cursed even louder and tried to keep calm.
"Jack! Calm down, mate!" Brock tried to slow the horse, but he started going even faster. Winter, on the other hand, grazed. And grazed. And shat in the freshly plowed furrows. And then he went down and started to roll, smearing himself and the harness with dirt. He got up and shook, covering the plow, Brock, and Jack with a fine layer of muck. Brock rolled his eyes. He managed to slow Jack down just enough for him to catch the older horse's head stall. Jack lowered his ears and tossed his head, but he calmed down enough that Jack could grab Winter's reigns, get him out of the dirt, and start to walk back to the barn. Something had gotten into his horses and it was too dangerous to keep on keeping on.
Brock got them to the edge of the field and started cursing a blue streak. "Really?! Really?! Can't you stupid fucks leave me alone?!"
Rhodes raised his hands, his eyes glued on the horses. "What are you doing?"
"Dealing with two tons of flighty draft horse," Brock snapped. "What are you doing?" Jack fidgeted some, his ears pricked up, and he turned his head towards a clump of trees. "Get lost, Rhodes. I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations has expired and, as you can see, you're scaring the horses."
"Oh my god, he's hot." A female agent came running out of the trees. Brock tried not to flush, but it was a close contest. He could feel the sweat dripping off his body and his muscles were tensed, what with holding the horses. Jack lowered his head when she walked over. The woman started cooing and she scratched her hands all over his head. Winter apparently took offense to that, because he reached over and started yanking on her light jacket. The woman screamed. "No! No! Bad horse!"
"Then why don't you get out of his personal space?" Brock suggested. He rolled his eyes and managed to back the two fidgety horses back. He drew his other hand across his face, flinching as his hands touched the scars. Maybe there was a reason why he worked in the background, rather than with the visitors. The woman gave Brock a nasty look, but she did move back. "What do you want, Rhodes? I'm kinda busy here, if you can't tell." He had half a field plowed and he needed the rest done by tomorrow.
"We're mopping up the rest of HYDRA and you fit the bill." Rhodes shrugged. "It's nothing personal."
Brock cringed some. He pulled Jack a little closer to him, trying to put the horse between him and the guy otherwise known as War Machine. "I knew I'd hear that again."
"You didn't see this coming?" Rhodes drawled. He eyed the horses, both of whom started to move around. They picked up on his nervousness. Winter was still calm, but he was stamping his dinner plate size hooves a bit too close to the female agent's feet. Jack was starting to back up. He tossed his head some and flicked his tail. Brock dodged the sweaty horse tail and managed to move both horses so they weren't in any danger of hurting someone. Winter lowered his head and flattened his ears to his skull. Jack had his ears flat back and he was starting to dance around. Brock sighed and stepped back. Once again, he had the big black horse trotting around him in a circle. Jack was starting to lather up and he was getting even more nervous.
"Mind getting out of his way?" Brock sighed. He turned around and rolled his eyes dramatically. "Oh. It's you. I'm pretty sure you can't pick up a shire horse, Barnes, and he's nervous enough to flatten you to the ground."
Barnes shook his head as he walked right up to Winter. The other horse put his head down and started scratching himself on Barnes' shoulder. He smiled softly, running his hands all over the black and white gelding. "He's so pretty. What's his name?"
"Winter." Brock tried to keep one eye on Barnes and the other on Jack. The older horse wasn't done yet. Brock knew from experience that both of them could keep going all day. Jack might have been a massive horse, but he was in top shape, and trotting really wasn't all that bad when you were a horse made to work all day every day. Brock wasn't in mission shape, he'd gained about twenty pounds, but there was no way he couldn't keep going with a fifteen year old horse all day. "You gonna keep up, Jack? I can do this all day."
Jack snorted, as if to say "Yeah, me too."
Barnes looked up as he caught Winter's bridle. "Winter? You really picked Winter?"
"This asshole is Jack," Brock suggested. He clicked at the horse again, not letting him slow down. Yes it was mean, but he needed to have a manageable horse at the end of it. "I thought about calling him James, but I figured that might confuse the horse too much." He sighed and noticed that several agents were filming him. "Really? You think people are gonna look at my scarred ass?"
"I mean, my Facebook Live is eating this up," another agent said. "I mean you, without a shirt? And with those horses? You got half the men and most of the women drooling over you!"
"Go perv over someone else," Brock drawled. He managed to slow Jack down and caught him. The big horse grunted some, but he was breathing hard. Brock walked him a few times and then turned back to the agents. "All of you but Barnes can just fuck right off." Brock rolled his eyes some as the accent he'd tried do hard to hide came back with a roaring vengeance. One of the male agents cleared his throat and looked away. Brock was getting annoyed, so he signaled Jack to go just a little bit too close. Not enough to hurt the guy, but enough to male him back off. "Y'all never heard a southern drawl before?"
"I just didn't know you had one," Barnes softly said. He walked over and touched the reins with his flesh hand. "Can I try?"
"No." Brock tried to move him away. "Don't want you to shred yourself and I need my gloves." Still, he slipped one of the worn leather gloves off his hand and tossed it to Barnes. "You can practice on Winter. He's pretty placid. I'll be over here with the firecracker." He hummed some and planted his feet. Jack seemed to know just how handsome he was. He snorted and tossed his shining head, before putting his weight into the traces and trying to drag Brock over to Rhodes. The big horse was curious about something and he was completely ignoring Brock pulling on the reins. Maybe you could jerk a pony around with a bit, but Brock was wishing he could do the same with his massive shire.
Barnes bit his bottom lip and brushed his hair out of his face. "I'd like you to teach me."
Brock groaned. He'd hoped that Barnes wouldn't remember much of Brock's time as handler, but he was willing to bet that wasn't the case. That meant Bucky now remembered every drunk sob story and most of Brock's secrets. "And what'll you do if I don't?"
"Go away and be sad?" Bucky took Jack's reins and made a soothing sound. The big horse snorted, but he calmed. His ears were still flat against his skull, but at least he wasn't acting like a complete idiot. Bucky clicked his tongue again, a slow smile spreading across his face. He took Brock's hand just like he used to do. Brock hoped no one could see his reaction and he cleared his throat. Bucky smiled again. "I think... You know, Steve up and left. He went back in time for Peggy and kinda left me. You think... maybe you think I could stay here?"
"My sister will eat you alive," Brock warned. He really hoped he wasn't going to have to explain Misty's extra-curricular activities.
Bucky actually laughed. "Bet you I can drive a horse better than you."
"Prove it." Brock tossed him the other glove and sat on the fence. One of the agents moved a bit too close. Brock growled at him. Maybe it helped that his eyes flashed gold and maybe it didn't, but the guy granted Brock his personal space. He laughed quietly as Jack lowered his head and proceeded to be his lovely self. Barnes, though, kept his cool and managed to back the older horse towards the plow hitch.
"Y'all leaving?" Brock slowly asked. "I can get the other horses and tow you to the nearest body shop." He waved his hand in the general direction and sat back to watch the show. He had a feeling that this was going to be good. He just hoped he wouldn't fuck it up too badly this time.
Later, when he checked his phone, the first thing he saw was a viral video of him with Jack... and a text message from Misty, telling him he was famous and to maybe quit making her look bad, ya dumb fuck. Brock rolled his eyes and snapped back at her. Somethings never changed and Misty was one of them.