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Shifting Tides

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Luna

 

I sat up on the rickety old cot and cocked my head to the side, watching the humans in front of me that were on the other side of the glass barrier. Their behavior had changed suddenly which caught my attention, dragging me out of a dreamless sleep.

I could tell they were panicked. They began to argue about data breaches and saving the work they have fought so hard to collect. 

I snorted hot air out my snout in annoyance.

Yeah, data about me, the rat bastards!

Humans tripped over themselves as the panic began to grow. My fur bristled along my long spine as I heard and felt the building shake. Something was definitely going on. Something the humans were afraid of.

Well, at least it wasn’t me this time.

The memory of our last altercation made my left hind paw reach up and scratch at the damned collar around my neck that was preventing me from shifting into my human form.

It's been three months. Three long damn months being stuck in this form. Not that I hated it per say, it’s just annoying not being able to speak what’s on my mind. 

It was their punishment for misbehaving. 

If I had human lips I would be smirking right now. I was always misbehaving. This last time though, I may have gotten a little more aggressive than I had intended. 

I was made to shift into a wolf during one of my training sessions. It wasn’t my fault that one of the guards got a little too rough when trying to position me as they wanted.

One thing led to another and I may or may not have ripped the guards arm right off. 

Bet he won’t hit anyone ever again with one of those damn taser sticks. At least not without thinking twice about it. 

“They’ve breached the containment barrier. They’ll be here any second! Move your asses, purge what you can. We can’t let them get their hands on the data.”

Them? I wondered who they spoke of. I was definitely intrigued. Hell I was down right almost giddy that someone was making my captors turn into whining and quivering piss ants.

The building rumbled again and I couldn’t stay still any longer. Curiosity was definitely getting the better of me. 

I figured since I was not currently in a cat form, a little curiosity wouldn’t hurt. Especially since their attention was so obviously focused on whatever was happening outside these walls.

I sat near the glass barrier and watched the men and women scurry around. I resisted the urge to wag my tail at how excited the whole thing made me.

Sadistic perhaps? 

Oh most definitely.

I flinched as the main double metal doors that led into the lab, suddenly blew off its hinges and went flying across the room. Whoever was coming, had apparently planted some kind of explosives to do that kind of damage.

I sat wide eyed as it slammed into three of the piss ants and their blood splattered across the floor and walls. 

I took sick pleasure in watching the life drain from their eyes. These bastards deserved so much worse.

I wished I had my hands so I could have clapped. Perhaps even throw in a whistle. This was more exciting than...than... Well Fuck, I guess pretty much anything really. These fuckers had it coming.

What I thought was panic before, turned up about ten notches. 

The humans pulled out guns and began to fire their weapons at whoever had blasted through the doors. 

I watched in awe as several humans swept into the room and a massive fight broke out.

A round disc flew through the air and hit one of the scientists, knocking the gun out of his hand and then landed right in front of me. 

It was red, white and blue, with a star at its center. Something about it scratched at a long lost memory. Something from my childhood. Something before all the horrors that went on inside these walls.

Bullets rained down upon the room, some ricocheted off my cell barrier and I watched every single person wearing a white lab coat die. 

Well, this turned out to be quite a day indeed. 

Three new people entered the room. One female and two males. They walked around and surveyed the bodies, making sure no one was a threat. 

The red haired woman began to access one of the computers, a frown crept along her facial features.

”Dammit, we’re too late! They dumped the data. We’ll be lucky to get anything out of these.”

The man who was dressed in similar colors to the round disk, looked irritated to hear what she said.

”Check every computer, perhaps they missed something. We didn’t come this far for nothing.”

They hadn’t noticed me yet, which made me a bit annoyed.

Um, hello, big giant white wolf twenty feet from you! 

The second male had longer brown hair to his shoulders, a metal arm holding a mighty big gun at his side as he looked warily around the room.

His eyes landed on me. My tail immediately began to wag.

Well hello handsome.

“Uh, guys, you both can see what I’m seeing, right?”

Mr Serious and the red head both looked my way. 

Hello!

I knew I couldn’t speak, but dammit I wish I could. I had so many questions. Like for one, who are you? And two, which one of you wonderful humans plan on taking this damn collar off me?

”A wolf? What the hell is Hydra doing with a wolf? Is it a pet or something?”

I wanted to roll my eyes at the man in the colorful suit. I’m no ones pet, that’s for sure. 

The red head walked toward the glass barrier and looked at me with deeply curious eyes. She appeared to be quite intelligent. I could tell from how she examined me. 

”Could they be testing on animals? He looks healthy, considering.”

I huffed in annoyance. Can they please just get to the letting me out of here part? I pawed at the glass and made direct eye contact with the female. 

”So what do we do with him? We can’t just leave it here. No telling what Hydra has done to him.”

I turned my head to look at the handsome man with the metal arm. He looked concerned for my well being. I found it touching and it warmed my heart that there was still kindness left in this world. 

”Her, it’s female.”

I turned my attention back to the woman. I was thankful she cleared that up, yet a little weirded out that she had taken a peek at my lady bits. 

“A wolf is the least of our worries right now. We need to focus on the mission at hand.”

I growled slightly at the dismissive attitude of the taller man. I wanted to yell at him that this whole facility was about me. About making me, training me. Molding me into their little toy.

”I don’t think she likes you Steve.”

The red head grinned over her shoulder at the man she called Steve.

Wait...Steve? 

I looked down at the disk again then  back at the man in question.

Holy Shit! He’s Captain America! That would mean that these are the Avengers. I’d heard about them briefly from snippets of conversation I overheard from my captors.

Thank God! They are to good guys! Now maybe I can finally get the hell out of here.

I yipped and stood up, raising up on my hind legs and bracing my large paws against the glass. My tail wagged uncontrollably. 

At that moment, another person entered the room. He held a bow in his hand by his side. 

”Whoa, what’s with the wolf?”

Ok people, we’ve established I’m a wolf. Can we move on from that please? 

I let out an annoyed bark and pawed at the glass. 

Mr Hotness came closer to the barrier and placed his flesh hand where one of my paws resting on the glass.

”Such a beautiful creature. What the hell is Hydra doing with you?”

His eyes held such sadness as he spoke. Like he knew first hand what kind of things went on here.

I glanced down at his arm...maybe he does.

I whined and pawed some more at the barrier. His brow furrowed and he looked back at his fellow Avengers.

”Can we let her out of there? She wants out.”

Steve shook his head no with a slight roll of his eyes. As if the mere question was ludicrous.

”We don’t know anything about that animal Buck. She could be dangerous for all we know. We’ll call someone to come pick her up, get her looked at and then placed in a proper environment. Perhaps a Wolf sanctuary or a Nature preserve.”

Oh this guy again. What the fuck?! I mean, yeah, I am dangerous, but not to them. Unless they try to hurt me, then I make no promises.

An idea came to mind. I quickly laid down onto my back and rolled over, showing my belly. Surely they would understand a gesture of submission. It was the only thing I could think of to let them know I meant them no harm.

”Aww Steve, come on, look at her. She looks docile enough.”

He looked over at the red head, “Tasha, help me out here.”

Tasha crosses her arms over her chest and shook her head.

”Sorry Barnes, no can do. We know little to nothing about this animal. In fact it’s probably best to just put her down. It would be the most humane way. No telling what they’ve done to her here. She may not be able to acclimate to being out in the wild again. If she even was wild at any point.”

I rolled back over onto my belly and looked up at her and snorted, shaking my head back and forth to show I was not a fan at all of what she was saying. 

She frowned and looked at me, her head cocking a bit to the side. I mimicked her. Her eyes widened fractionally. 

She turned and started rifling through stacks of papers and notebooks that were scattered along the desks. Steve took notice immediately, so did the others.

“Natasha? What’s going on?”

”I think that wolf can understand every single thing we’re saying. Look around, see if you can find anything that can give us a clue as to what was going on in here. I don’t think our intel was quite accurate as to what was going on here. Besides, how many places do you know of that puts a Wolf, or any animal for that matter, in a containment room with a bed and a bathroom. It’s as if the room was made for a person, not a wolf.”

I sat straight up again and I tried my best to smile, only to look probably goofy as hell as my huge tongue lolled out to the side.

Buck or Barnes, or whatever his name was, took a step back and looked stunned at my reaction.

”I think you’re right.”

Steve came closer and looked me and the room over with a more observant eye as he bent down to pick up his shield. My eyes held his, never blinking. Hoping he could sense my intelligence. Sense the woman behind the wolf.

”Even more of a reason to keep her right where she is. Natasha’s right, look around, something's not quite right about this situation.”

The four humans searched the room, looking for information. 

I walked along the barrier and woofed, getting their attention. They watched me as I pawed at the glass, trying to point to a picture hanging on the wall.

Natasha followed my gaze.

”I think she’s trying to tell us something.”

The one with the bow laughed under his breath.

”Like what? Did Timmy fall down the well again? Huh? Is that what your trying to tell us Lassie?”

He thought he was so funny, talking in that sing-song way. That is until I growled and pawed at the glass harder, my huge paw thudding against the barrier.

”Uh, yeah, that wolf’s not quite normal.”

Natasha looked at me, amusement clearly on her face. I winked one of my eyes at her and tried to appear to smile. 

She pulled the picture off the wall, to reveal a safe hidden behind it.

Her eyes darted back to me. I sat back on my haunches and cocked my head at her again.

Well human, what are you waiting for?

Steve looked shocked. Hell they all did. 

“Alright, this just got weird.”

Buck/Barnes was grinning from ear to ear.

“Maybe we should ask her if she knows the combination.”

Natasha straightened her spine and turned toward me.

”Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Though, it looks more like a DNA scanner for access. Perhaps she knows who’s DNA we need? We should let her out.”

Steve shook his head.

”Wait a minute, weren’t you just backing me up about NOT letting her out? This is a bad idea Nat.”

She shrugged and started walking toward the locking mechanism for my cell. 

Yes! Finally! Get me the hell out of here.

She flicked something on her wrist and a small metallic disk came out. She placed it on the lock and a second later, an electric shock was administered.

The lock made a weird crackling sound, then a loud pop was heard as the lock disengaged.

The four humans stepped back and away from the cell door as it made a whooshing sound, sliding open and giving me my freedom.

I walked cautiously toward the door and eyed them all suspiciously, hoping this wasn’t some trick. I definitely didn’t want to get my ass shot.

Slowly I edged my way out of the cell, the humans backing away even further, giving me space. I mean, I am a huge wolf in this form. 

I stayed close to the glass as I made my way toward the safe. I didn’t know exactly which one had access to  it, but I was positive I could pick up the scent of who did.

Natasha grinned at me as I stood up on my hind legs and sniffed the panel. I snorted and tried to shake my head to get rid of the foul odor. 

Whoever it was, apparently forgot to wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Shouldn’t be too hard to find which one it is.

They all kept backing away, almost to the entrance as I made my rounds, sniffing all the hands of the dead scientists. 

I saw one in particular I hated with a passion. He was constantly saying rude and obnoxious things to me. Not to mention his knack for being physically brutal at times.

I grinned inwardly.

I maneuvered myself to the side of dickhead’s body, and even though I’m not a male, I hiked my leg and proceeded to piss all over his bloodied and dead face.

Barnes and Clint laughed, though they tried to stifle it. Apparently Steve didn’t like that.

”Can it you two. That’s not funny.”

Natasha leaned against the door frame and gave me a devious grin.

”I don’t think she liked that one very much. I mean, if I had the chance, I’d probably..”

”Don’t even say it, that’s just disturbing.”

She laughed at his unease.

I snorted and turned my back on the corpse, scratching my hind legs along the floor as if trying to kick dirt over him.

With that deed done, I continued my search for stinky hand guy. Because, yep, whoever it was, was definitely male.

When I finally found him, he was pinned under one of the huge metal doors. I tried to think of how I’d get him out from under it, until I realized that all I needed was a hand.

With a deep growl, I grabbed the man’s dead arm and sank my teeth into his flesh, pulling and ripping until I felt and heard the bones breaking and snapping under my powerful jaw.

”Holy Shit!”

I heard something power up, not recognizing the sound. I definitely felt it’s effect though.

I yelped in pain as something blasted against my left hip, sending me sprawling across the floor and into the wall.

I whined as I looked around to see where the pain had come from.

The others were restraining a man in a red and gold metal suit of armor that covered his whole body, except for his head.

Steve had his hand pressed to the front of his suit, trying to stand in front of him, blocking him from shooting at me again. The others did the same.

”Tony! No, don’t! She’s not trying to hurt us.”

If I weren’t in pain I’d probably cuss out a blue streak right now. Fuck that hurt!

”Steve?! What the hell do you mean!? Do you not see it ripping the arm off of someone? What am I missing here? And why do I smell piss?”

While I tried to pull myself up to a standing position, I heard Natasha and Barnes explain the situation to the metal man. 

Dammit this hurts!

I whined and stood up, shaking my body from head to toe. The pain was ebbing, but it still made me limp a bit on that leg.

Well fuck, looks like I got my ass shot anyway. I glared at the metal man they call Tony. I had to resist the urge to not attack. I snarled in his direction, resisting the urge to rip his throat out.

Thankfully my will to be human again was a bit greater than revenge at the moment. I limped my way back to the halfway ripped off arm I needed. But the more I moved, the worse my hip felt.

Silence again overtook the room as I grabbed the arm and ripped it the rest of the way off. I heard a gag to my left and I looked up at the Avengers. 

”Oh God that’s...I think I may throw up.”

Tony looked pale as he gazed at the dead flesh hanging out of my jaw.

I snorted.

Pussy.

I made my way to the safe, dropping the arm in the floor, I repositioned it so I could grab the wrist. 

I went to stand on my back legs and I cried out in pain, dropping the arm back onto the floor.

I sat down for a second, licking at the wound on my hind quarter, whining and groaning as I did so. 

My attention had been so focused on my pain, that it surprised me when I saw a metal arm reaching for the flesh one laying at my feet.

I looked up at Barnes, our eyes met, and I swear I felt my world shift slightly. 

”Bucky, be careful, she’s wounded, you don't know how she’ll react.”

Now it’s Bucky? How many names does this guy have? 

”It’s ok girl, I’m not going to hurt you. Sorry Tony shot you, I know that has to hurt. Let me help you. Is this the hand that opens the safe?”

I couldn’t believe he was actually asking me, expecting me to give an answer. It warmed a place in my chest that had felt nothing but cold for many many years. 

I nodded once. His answering smile was one for the record books. I literally think I swooned. In fact, my treacherous tale wagged.

I watched as he lifted the arm and placed the palm face down upon the scanner. There was a slight buzzing sound, then the lock clicked and the safe opened.

The arm was thrown to the side as Bucky reached in the safe and pulled out several thick files.

He looked down at me and smiled all over again.

”Is this what you wanted us to find?”

Yes

I nodded again.

He crouched in front of me and slowly held his flesh hand out to me, toward my nose. 

He was treating me like a dog, wanting me to smell him. Well, can’t really blame him for that. Not really.

I stretched out my neck and sniffed his upturned hand. He smelled of soap and gun oil and something distinctively him. I liked it.

”I think she likes you Bucky.”

Natasha was right, my tail thumped against the floor as I sniffed him. I couldn’t resist pressing my snout into his hand and giving it a tentative lick.

His smile grew, his eyes crinkling at the sides as he did so. A calmness overtook his face as he started petting me.

He worked his way up my face and head, scratching behind my ears. It felt heavenly. No one had ever touched me so tenderly before. Or if they had, it was so long ago that I couldn’t remember what it was like.

Not sure how long he sat there with me after handing the files over to Natasha. He eventually had both hands on my fur, his fingers getting lost in my thick pelt.

”You’re such a beautiful wolf. So soft. Thank you for helping us.”

I looked up at him and saw the sincerity in his eyes. I had such an overwhelming urge to kiss him. It made me long for my human lips. So instead I did the next best thing.

I scooted closer to him and began to lick his face and neck. If I were a cat I’d be purring. If I thought he smelled nice, he tasted even better. The taste and scent of his neck made me practically crawl into his lap.

He laughed and scratched at my sides, giving me full access to kiss him as I pleased. I don’t stop until I felt an intense need to bite him, claim him.

Mine!

I pulled back, whining as I did so. I couldn’t understand what I was feeling. My brain was muddled with his scent, making me feel almost high. Maybe the shot to my hip did more damage than I thought.

Bucky stood up and placed his metal hand on top of my head, sliding down to just below my ear.

”Come on, let’s get you out of here.”

I groaned as I stood, my leg definitely smarting. He looked worried at my leg, the burnt area on my hip was the size of a dinner plate and had made my white fur black. I smelled the slightest tingle of blood. 

”She needs medical attention.”

He glared at Tony who at least appeared to feel sorry for hurting me.

”Look, I said I was sorry. How was I suppose to know she’s domesticated? All I saw was a big ass wolf tearing someone’s arm off.”

Domesticated my ass! 

I watched Natasha as she read the file as we exited the lab. I limped in between her and Bucky. Her eyes kept darting back to me then the file again. 

At least now she knows that I’m not some random wolf. Hopefully soon they will take this damn collar off and I can show them who I really am.

I mean, I guess I can’t complain too much. Of all my different forms I’ve taken, the wolf is one of my favorite. Well, that and the Tiger. I feel so powerful in that form. But the Wolf, something about it has always felt comfortable.

I took in my surroundings as we finally exited the building. It was as if I was in my own little world. The conversations around me were muted as if far away. The only thing on my mind was escape. I needed to get out of here!

We made it to an aircraft that was landed just outside the compound walls. It was night out, stars twinkling in the sky had my head craned up to look at all of them. It’s been a long time since I’ve been allowed outside to see them, at least not without heavy chains on me to keep me in check.

The Avengers gathered the rest of their team and were standing outside the aircraft. I learned from conversations that the new faces were named Thor and Bruce. 

I finally started to pay attention to what exactly they were saying. 

Bruce looked uneasy.

”I don’t know guys. I haven’t had the best of luck with big wolves. Do we really want to take a chance on putting her in an enclosed space...with me?”

Thor grinned and slapped his hand onto Bruce’s shoulder, gripping him there.

”Ah, but you bested the beast, did you not? Besides, she’s not really a wolf, right Natasha?”

Oh, well, I guess I missed that revelation. I looked up at the people surrounded me and gave them my full attention. Bucky still stood to my right, metal hand slightly caressing my fur.

”Correct. Though why she’s still in wolf form I don’t know. It says in the files that she can shift at will.”

Bucky spoke beside me, his cheeks pinking slightly as he did.

”Well, I mean, she would be naked, right? Maybe that’s why?”

He looked down at me and I looked right back. I tried to nudge his hand against the collar. 

”Naked woman you say? I have no problem with that.”

Steve and a few others scowled at Tony. 

Bucky knelt down beside me.

”Luna? That’s your name isn’t it?”

I nodded.

”Why won’t you shift back so we can talk? We’ll get you something to cover up with if you like. I’m sure we have some extra clothes in the Quinjet. We just want to talk to you. No one..else, will hurt you. You have my word.”

Being naked was never a problem for me. I wasn’t ashamed of my body. In fact, I wished I could show him what I looked like in my all natural form. Would his cheeks pink up again? I certainly hoped so. It was such a strange feeling, wanting to show my nakedness to another person for the first time in my life.

I yipped and shoved my head down into his lap. Grinning inwardly, I couldn’t help but notice how it was positioned perfectly to smell his wonderful musk from his genitalia. 

Mine!

Dammit! I really need to get a grip on that feeling. It’s as if my wolf were taking over.

”Uh...”

He tried to push me away gently, trying to shift his pelvis back away from me, but I wasn’t having it. I huffed and kept pushing my head against him.

His hands grabbed my collar to keep me away and I froze. 

Yes! Yes, that’s what you need to take off!

I whined and sat down, looking up into his blue green eyes.

”Wait, the collar? Is that it? Is that the reason you can’t shift back?”

I gave one nod of my head.

He didn’t even hesitate, his metal hand tightened its grip and snapped the heavy metal collar right off. I could feel it’s affects immediately as it was pulled free from my body.

Bucky stood up and threw the collar to the ground as I forced myself to change. 

His eyes went wide, as my long white fur turned into smooth pale skin. My body elongating. Long blonde hair cascaded down my back to caress my low back.

I heard gasps around me, but his reaction was the only one I wanted. The only one I needed for some odd reason.

I nearly jumped with glee as his cheeks pinked up and he tried his best not to look upon my nudity. 

”Oh thank God! I’ve been stuck like that for months. Thank you Bucky, thank you.”

I pressed my naked body against his and hugged him tight. My check pressed to his muscular chest. I could hear his heart racing.

He held his hands away from me for several moments, not quite sure how to hold me in this state of undress. 

I moaned gleefully as I snuggled deeper into his embrace and finally his arms wrapped around my back, making sure to keep well enough away from my rear and breasts.

”Quit gawking punk, find me a blanket or somethin would ya?”

Soon a warmth circled my shoulders and I was slowly pulled away from Bucky’s chest. His eyes looked down at my breasts and he immediately groaned and looked up toward the sky and tried to wrap the blanket more securely around my nakedness.

I giggled when the back of his knuckle brushed the side of one exposed breast. I think I literally felt chills run down my spine at his touch. 

He backed away from me once I was fully covered. He chances a look at me and I couldn’t help but smile.

”Hi.”

He smiled and then motioned for me to go inside the jet. He called it a Quinjet. The others followed suit.

I couldn’t help how good it made me feel when I heard Bucky talking behind me.

”I mean it Steve, not one word. I swear to you, I will kick your ass.”

Steve laughed, so did the others.

Natasha pulled extra clothes out of a locker and handed them to me.

”These may fit you. The sweat pants are Bucky’s since you’re a bit taller than me. I doubt you’ll fit in mine.”

I dropped the blanket to the floor. Natasha smacked Tony’s shoulder as he gawked at me. It wasn’t until Bucky practically growled at him, that he huffed and finally turned around to give me some privacy.

Steve and the others had turned even before I let the blanket fall. Except for Bucky. His eyes lingered slightly, before finally joining the others.

I slipped on the oversized shirt. I inhaled the scent and knew instantly it was also Bucky’s. My skin tingled where the material touched me. I’ve never felt anything like it before. What is it about this man?

The sweatpants were a whole other problem. My left hip hurt like a Bitch! I hissed as I tried to pull them up my long legs. 

I was disappointed when it was Natasha to come to my side and not Bucky.

”Let me look at your hip.”

It wasn’t a question. I could tell she wasn’t one to be trifled with and definitely did as she pleased. 

Her brow knitted together as she examined the damaged flesh. There was a huge burnt spot with blackened flesh and it had began to swell slightly.

Her eyes darted up to mine.

”Let me get the first aid kit. You’ll be more comfortable with it covered before putting on pants.”

I waited patiently as she grabbed the kit and began to dress my wound.

As she taped up the bandage, she looked up at me.

”The notes didn’t say how long you were there.”

It wasn’t a question, but I understand she was trying to get me to talk. Something she must be very good with. I found myself wanting to give her the information she wanted. I had nothing to hide.

”Since I was little. Not sure how old I was. One moment I’m wrapped up warm in my bed, the next I was waking up in a different bed behind a glass barrier. I don’t even remember my parents. Perhaps that’s a good thing, considering. As for exactly how long? I’m not really sure. I wasn’t really given a calendar to go by.”

She seemed to consider this as she finished dressing the wound, then allowed me to pull the sweats up the rest of the way.

It definitely felt better covered, but the deep ache was still there. I limped over to a seat and gingerly sat down. Looking up, I saw that the men were still turned around away from me.

”Um..you can turn around now, I’m dressed.”

Six sets of eyes turned toward me. One definitely looked disappointed that I was clothed. Well, two of you count Tony. Three of you count Steve’s slightly off expression.

He sat across from me and leaned forward slightly as he spoke to me, his elbows resting on his knees.

”What exactly did Hydra have in mind for you? The files talk about your abilities and the tests they did on you, but didn’t divulge as to why.”

I swallowed nervously as I looked at him. He was obviously in charge from his demeanor. The wolf still lingering in me could sense his Alpha nature. She tucked her tail a bit inside me, wanting to lay on her back and show her belly in submission. Hell, she practically rolled over and showed her belly.

I snorted at her inwardly. We cower to no man! Especially this one. Though deep down it wasn’t quite cowering. It felt..natural? 

I met Steve’s gaze head on, not looking away. From the slight tick of his lips, I think he liked it.

”I think it would be easier for me to show you, than actually tell you.”

He sat back in his seat as I began to shift. His eyes widening as he realized exactly what Hydra had planned. Just from one familiar face.

”The President?”

The others gathered around as I smiled back at them from behind the face of the President of the United States of America.

”That’s not all.” The voice was a perfect replication, along with the body.

I shifted multiple times, changing from one powerful figure after another, from all over the world. Steve was shocked to say the least. So were the others.

”So Hydra planned on using you to take the place of these prominent heads of State?”

I returned to my natural form and shifted uncomfortably in my seat. All the turning had my hip aching even more.

”Yes, you’re correct. They have been grooming me to imitate them perfectly.”

Bruce crossed his arms after pushing up his glasses.

”So what’s with the Wolf form? What does that have to do with grooming you to help take over the world’s governments and handing them over to Hydra?”

I could tell he was very agitated.

”I was made to shift into all sort of creatures. Each one unique with its own set of subtleties to the species. By perfecting those, it helped me to perfect the humans form. Hand gestures, posturing, the way they walk or even blink, can mean the difference between accomplishing the goal and getting caught. But the wolf, well, I don’t know really. I just kind of like her.”

Steve’s face hardened at what I said.

”Sounds like you took pride in your work.”

I snorted and rolled my eyes. Is he serious?

”The only thing I took pride in was giving Hydra a hard time. Why do you think they haven’t used me yet? I wasn’t exactly a star pupil. I knew from day one that I was meant to do horrible things. I chose not to play into their hands. The only reason I even went along with their experiments, was because I had no choice. They had serums that would force the change. If I didn’t cooperate, I can assure you, the pain they can cause is quite acute.”

His eyes softened a bit and I didn’t miss the way he glanced at Bucky. I could sense his sadness almost as if it were something palpable in the air.

Bucky looked at me with such sympathy in his eyes. I could tell he knew of the torture I spoke of. I’m not sure how, I just did.

”Look, I never asked for any of this. You don’t need to worry about me. Just let me out somewhere and I’ll make it on my own. I’ll blend in, no one will ever know. I don’t have to be your problem.”

My heart nearly broke as I said it. Deep down I wanted to be near Bucky. Hell, all of them for that matter. I couldn’t understand it, but I didn’t want to fight it either. Besides freedom, it’s the one thing I really wanted for myself.

Steve didn’t like it one bit.

”I’m sorry. But we can’t just let you go. Your abilities pose a huge threat to National safety. Until we can be sure of where your allegiance lies, you’re not going anywhere.”

I felt my wolf’s hackles go up and a growl could be felt forming in my throat.

I stood up suddenly, ignoring my pain. I glared at the Captain and balled my fists. He stood too, the others backing away slightly as we looked each other in the eyes. I was not going to back down. Not from this.

”I have only ever wanted one thing since I first woke up in that cell. Freedom. And no one, I mean no one, will stand in my way of that. Definitely not some star spangled buffoon with too much testosterone for his own good! If you think my only abilities are to shift, you have another thing coming. If you ever try to restrain me or put me in another cell, I will kill you! I refuse to be anyone’s plaything ever again! Do you hear me? I’ll die first!”

I didn’t realize tears were falling down my cheeks. The thought of being held captive again was nearly drawing panic out of me. 

Pain seizes my hip and shot down my leg, making me cry out and collapse. I was surprised to find that Steve was the one to catch me and lower me carefully to the floor. Sweat had beaded my forehead from the pain. 

Bucky’s flesh’s hand cupped my forehead and pushed my hair away from my eyes. He glared at Steve whose face didn’t show how he was truly feeling.

”Steve, was it necessary to antagonize her that way? She’s hurt! She needs medical attention. I don’t feel like she’s going to be a threat. Not like I was. You never gave up on me and let me prove myself. She deserves the same. If you even try to put her in a cell, I’ll kick your ass myself.”

I looked up at the two men. I could see the unspoken argument going on. Words that weren’t spoken, yet clear as day on their faces. 

”Bucky, you need to back down. You don’t even know this woman.”

”No, I don’t. But I know what depth that Hydra goes to, to make you do what they want. They had her for probably twenty years. You have no clue what hell they can put you through in just one day, one damn hour. Yeah, you’ve read my reports, but you weren’t there. You didn’t go through what I did. Just give her a fucking chance to prove herself. I’ll even be responsible for her. If something goes wrong, it’s on me.”

Silence filled the Quinjet. I knew to keep quiet, this was something significant happening between the two Alpha males. Not necessarily a struggle for dominance per say, but definitely something that’s been brewing between the two for probably a while.

Steve seemed to almost melt at Bucky’s words. A deep sadness filled his eyes. And do I see a tinge of guilt there? 

”Bucky, you know I wouldn’t put her in a cell unless it was necessary. But even you know how unpredictable a Hydra’s weapon can be. Sometimes you can’t even trust your own mind. But you’re right. I do need to give her a chance. If you want to take on the role as her guardian, that’s fine. But I wonder if you can stay neutral, considering your reaction so far with her.”

I looked up at Bucky and he looked down at me. A nerve ticked in his eyebrow. I could see the struggle in his eyes. For my part, I hoped he wouldn’t stay neutral. I desperately wanted him on my side. 

Looking up at the Captain, I couldn’t help but want him on my side as well. Despite our little encounter.

Natasha spoke up and the two men looked at her.

”I’ll help. I’ll be his backup.”

A few moments passed between the three. I almost held my breath, waiting for something to snap and go all to hell. Did I need to fight my way out of here? 

Before I could even register any of those feelings, after a nod from the Captain, I was being picked up off the floor by Bucky and cradled in his arms as if I weighed nothing at all.

He set me back down into the chair as gently as he could. He cringed as I hissed in pain. 

”Don’t worry Luna, you won’t be put in a cage. I promise you. But you gotta trust us too, if you want that trust back. First we’ll get you back to our home and get you fixed up and well again. The rest will come with time. Can you give us that?”

I looked deeply into his eyes and felt a tug at my heart. I knew without a doubt I wanted to trust him. I desperately wanted that trust in return.

”Yes, I can. It won’t come easy. Trust that is. On my part. But, I think I can trust you.”

With a nod, he left me to myself and went back to his seat. The others as well. Steve stayed across from me, his gaze never truly leaving mine. Always watching. Always alert to any signs of danger. But also a look I couldn’t quite place. It was different than how Bucky looked at me, yet it still made my skin prickle.

He was protective of this group of heroes. I couldn’t really blame him for that. I respected him for it. I think he could sense that about me somehow. I caught him slightly smiling at me. I couldn’t help but smile back. 

The trip to their home was a long one. But I knew without a doubt that I was heading where I was meant to. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel as if I was being forced into a situation. I was being led, and I followed willingly. 

It gave me a sense of calm that I hadn’t known before. A sense of belonging in this life that wasn’t there prior to today. For the first time I didn’t feel like a noose was around my throat. Any second and it would be tightened. For now...I could breath easily. I only prayed it would last. 

Please, let it last...